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Encoukaged by the success of my " Familiar Illus- 
trations of Scottish Life," and at the request of my 
Publishers, I have prepared the present work. I 
have been indebted to many sources of information — 
some rare, others familiar. Possessing a store of 
Scottish traditions which have been transmitted in 
my own family, I have used these amply. My friend, 
Dr. Hugh Barclay, Sheriff Substitute of Perthshire, 
has again favoured me with a budget of interesting 

The Work may not be unacceptable. A new story 
adds to the sources of human enjoyment. The Traits 
and Characteristics of a people are worthy of preser- 
vation. The Scots were formerly a most peculiar 
race. Their domestic habits and social customs 
differed materially from those of the south. Their 
legal system and ecclesiastical arrangements still 
differ ; but international prejudices are subsiding. I 
know of only one living Scotsman who bears a 
grudge at England and protests against southern 
supremacy. Scottish grumbling has yielded to 



English generosity. The Eose and the Thistle have 
been intertwined, and grow lovingly together. 

In the course of a few generations the distinctive 
peculiarities of Scotsmen will entirely disappear. 
During the last half-century there have been changes 
of a remarkable description. English manners have 
been penetrating northward. Many northern customs, 
" more honoured in the breach than the observance," 
have become obsolete. Domestic comforts have been 
increasing. Certain obnoxious social practices have 
disappeared; others have been ameliorated. The 
superfluous population have, in the mercantile centres 
of the south, and in our prosperous Colonies, success- 
fully employed their energy and intelligence. The 
plain fare of brose and bannocks has prepared the 
Scotsman to endure hardships, and, irrespective of 
comforts by the way, to press on to the goal of 
honour and emolument. 

In the present Work have been described the Traits 
and Peculiarities of the Scots during the latter half 
of the past Century and earlier portion of the present. 
There are likewise Illustrations of the habits of con- 
spicuous persons at earlier periods, and some Anec- 
dotes relating to men of genius and learning who 
have lately departed from the scene. 

The manners and customs of the peasant population 
of the Scottish Lowlands were first delineated by Mrs. 
Elizabeth Hamilton in "The Cottagers of Glenburnie, ,, 
while Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her " Letters from the 
Mountains," depicted the peculiarities of the Scottish 


highlander. Sir Walter Scott followed, describing 
in his own inimitable manner the entire edifice of 
Caledonian society. He has left nothing undone. 
Yet the historical inquirer may be interested to dis- 
cover further illustrations of the evidence, on which 
the great novelist has founded the Characters in his 

The deep religious earnestness of the Seventeenth 
Century considerably waned after the termination 
of the struggles which ceased at the Eevolution. 
From the middle till the close of the Eighteenth 
Century, Scotland could lay no claim to religious 
superiority. The bulk of the people were unculti- 
vated and rude. Licentiousness prevailed among all 
classes. Eiotous excess became the characteristic of 
a gentleman. 

The upper ranks dined early and sat late. When 
the substantial of dinner were consumed, the gen- 
tlewomen were expected to return to the spinet 
or the distaff. The punch-bowl, now copiously 
filled, was placed before the host. There was a suc- 
cession of public and family toasts and numerous 
sentiments, to all of which a glass of the potent 
liquor was drained off. The drinking-glasses of the 
period contained twice as much as those of the 
present time. Special toasts were drunk with pe- 
culiar honours, — each guest mounting upon his chair, 
and resting his right foot upon the table, quaffed his 
liquor; he then raised his glass aloft in upturned 
fashion, and gave nine loud huzzas. On such occa- 



sions the overthrow of the table was not an unfre- 
quent occurrence. 

"When tea or coffee was announced, the host ac- 
companied his guests to the drawing-room. The 
younger gentlemen tarried with the ladies, but the 
seniors soon returned to the dining-room to renew 
their potations. There were instances in which hard 
drinkers died in their chairs. A West country laird 
at one of these social meetings was seized with 
apoplexy and immediately expired. "The laird's 
looking unco gash," said the host, who had at 
length remarked the altered appearance of his guest. 
" 'Deed is he," answered a neighbour, " for he's been 
with his Maker this hour and mair. I didna like 
to spoil the fun by speaking o't." This anecdote, 
which is perfectly authentic, presents a shocking 
picture of the convivial habits of the last century. 

Saturday dinner-parties were common ; they were 
protracted till the Sunday had closed. Every guest 
was expected to drink till he fell under the table. 
When all had reached this degrading position,the male 
attendants of the family entered and carried them to 
their chambers. When the apartments were insuffi- 
cient for the number of guests, those who were 
unaccommodated with beds were extended on the 
floor, and covered, their neckcloths being loosened 
to prevent the risk of suffocation. The servants 
expected handsome gratuities from the guests as 
they departed. 

The administrators of the law indulged in copious 



libations of brandy and claret. " To be drunk as a 
judge" was a proverb. The Senators of the College 
of Justice continued their festivities until morning 
hours. Circuit dinners terminated by the members 
of the court sinking under the tables from which 
they had been feasting. 

Synod suppers did not terminate till considerably 
after midnight. On one occasion, at four a.m., the 
Moderator of the Synod of Aberdeen requested Boots, 
who is the youngest member of the court, to ring the 
bell. The waiter appeared. "Is the kettle bilin' ?"* 
inquired the Moderator. "It is, your reverence," 
responded the attendant. "See, then," added the 
Moderator, "that ye keep it aye fou*f- an' aye bilin'." 
A distinguished clergyman of the capital was fond 
of claret. Paying a morning visit to a parishioner, 
he was entertained with a pint bottle of the liquor, 
which the host pronounced to be very old. "It's 
unco sma' o' its age!" said the reverend gentleman, 

When drunkenness abounded, profane swearing 
was common. Persons of rank distinguished them- 
selves by the grandeur of their oaths. They swore 
loftily, but were sometimes disconcerted. A land- 
owner in Eoxburghshire was a noted swearer. Walk- 
ing in his demesne one day with a friend he was 
indulging his habit, when one of the labourers on the 
estate suddenly presented himself. The hind was 
known for his piety. " Whisht," said the landowner, 

* Boiling. t Full. 



" let that fellow pass ; I am never free to swear when 
he is in sight." 

Illicit distillation was another practice consequent 
on the national love of potent beverages. It was la- 
mentably prevalent. The idle highlander planted his 
still in the remote glen or the mountain corrie, and pre- 
pared his usquebaugh * by the light of the moon. He 
was an incorrigible offender. An Argyleshire high- 
lander was reproved by his minister for engaging in 
this illegal traffic. "Ye mauna ask me," said the 
smuggler, "to gie't up, for it supports the family. 
My faither an' his faither afore him made a drappie. 
The drink is gude — far better for a bodie than 
the coorse big-still whusky. Besides, I permit nae 
swearin' at the still, an' a' is dune dacently an' in 
order. I dinna see muckle harm in't." The speech 
contained arguments which were cogent to the 
utterer, and determined his resolution. 

A parish minister in Fifeshire had succeeded in ob- 
taining the modification of a heavy penalty, imposed 
on a parishioner who had a second time been found 
guilty of smuggling. The offender had solemnly 
promised to abandon the practice. When his diffi- 
culty was overcome, he waited on the clergyman to 
thank him for his intercession. " I hope, John," said 
the pastor, "that, as you have promised, you will 
carefully avoid everything of this sort for the future." 
" Surely, sir, surely," said John ; but as he was 
leaving the apartment he shook his benefactor hear- 

* The original Gaelic for whisky. 



tily by the hand, and exclaimed, as he made his 
retreat, "Ye'll get a bottle o' the best o't yet." 

Smugglers were generally detected through "in- 
formations" communicated to the excise by their 
neighbours. These received, as a reward, one-half 
the proceeds of the confiscation, and their names 
were not publicly divulged. I was informed by an 
aged supervisor that nearly all his detections were 
made consequent on the "informations" of neigh- 
bours. It is difficult to conceive a state of society 
more despicable than that in which there obtained 
such an habitual violation of neighbourly confi- 

Sheepstealing was a common vice of the last 
century, though hanging was its legal penalty. 
Many ghost stories had their origin in the sheep- 
stealer throwing a white sheet over his shoulders, 
for the threefold purpose of concealing his person 
and his plunder, and of frightening those who might 
otherwise have guessed his intent, and sought his 

Deception largely prevailed. Many of the landed 
gentry were noted bouncers. They magnified their 
own importance by practising on the credulity of 
their retainers. A laird or highland chief, who had 
once visited London, or had been a few days on the 
Continent, possessed sufficient materials to astonish 
his dependants during the remainder of his life. 
The peasantry were adepts in the art of dissimu- 
lation. They generally boasted of their independ- 



ence, but were ready to obey the laird, both in 
matters where obedience was due, and where acqui- 
escence in his wishes might more creditably have 
been resisted. 

In small burghs the traders depended chiefly on a 
few leading persons, to whom they attached them- 
selves. Unlike the highland clansmen, who clung to 
their landless chiefs with the same ardour of affec- 
tion as when their hospitalities were administered to 
a thousand followers, the lowland shopkeeper con- 
served his personal interest by countenancing only 
the opulent or those in authority. While Mr. James 
Guthrie, minister of Stirling, the future martyr, re- 
tained public favour, the burgesses flocked to his 
ministrations. But when he incurred the displea- 
sure of the Court, his parishioners discovered that 
his prayers lacked unction, and that his discourses 
were unedifying. The Stirling butchers hounded 
him with their dogs. His congregation permitted 
him to be executed without venturing on any peti- 
tion for his release. 

The old Municipal system was tainted with many 
corruptions. Votes of electors for offices in the Cor- 
poration were bought and sold. Bribery at Parlia- 
mentary elections was so common that municipal 
councillors regarded these unlawful gains as the 
occasional perquisites of office. The rise of certain 
families in the smaller burghs may be traced to 
the acceptance of bribes by their founders. There 
was much contention among municipal rulers for 



individual ascendency. They wasted the public 
funds in interminable litigations. In the course of 
the last century many of the Burghs were placed 
under trust. "When funds for political purposes were 
required, burgh magistrates exposed their privileges 
at public auction to the highest bidder. They sold 
their Church Patronages. They sold their Landward 
Superiorities. They bartered the public rights of the 
burgesses to the neighbouring proprietors for per- 
sonal advantages. They violated hospital and other 
charitable trusts. They sold the office of chief 
magistrate to those who would promise best, but did 
least, for the public benefit. 

This burghal picture was even exceeded in the 
rural hamlets. There the roads or streets were nearly 
impassable, the bridges were decayed or broken 
down, and dungsteads were placed in front of 
every dwelling. No hind of the last century pos- 
sessed more than one apartment ; his peat fire blazed 
in the centre, and the smoke, which was intended to 
find egress by an aperture in the roof, more fre- 
quently, after encircling the chamber, escaped by the 
open door and unglazed windows. 

With the commencement of the present century 
began an era of physical and moral reformation. 
Agriculture was encouraged ; commerce received new 
impulses. The Clergy were now better educated, and 
better acquainted with human affairs : they began to 
exercise a salutary influence on the manners and 
habits of the people. The farmer now united the 



well-cultivated field with the well-kept garden, the 
tidy courtyard with the clean fireside. The hinds 
procured a better class of dwellings. Streets and 
alleys were threaded with underground sewers, which 
removed noxious vapours and more noxious disease. 
By a system of thorough drainage, morasses and the 
beds of lakes were converted into fields, producing 
rich cereals and abundant pasture. 

The morals of the people have shared in the ame- 
lioration of their physical condition. Drunkenness 
has subsided ; illicit distillation has ceased ; the old 
vices have departed, and the national virtues have 
become more conspicuous. 

Scotsmen have ceased to rejoice in national isola- 
tion. Though continuing to glory in her independ- 
ence and ancient liberties, Scotland owns that the 
proudest day of her history was that of her union 
with England. The perfervidum ingenium remains, 
but its acrimony has departed. Scotsmen proceed 
everywhere ; and wherever they are found, they are 
esteemed for their probity and honour, and are cha- 
racterized by an energy which knows not how to 
yield, and a determination which is invincible. 

C. E. 

London, May 10, 1867. 



Introduction . . . . . iii 



John Knox — George Buchanan — Andrew Melville and James 
VI. — David Ferguson and James VI. — James Guthrie and 
Charles II. — Samuel Rutherford and Archbishop Usher — 
William III. and Principal Carstairs — James VI. and his 
"Book of Sports"— John M'Vicar— St. Serf— The Laird of 
Tillicoultry — Peter Beaton — Dean Thomas Forret — John 
Gray and clerical hanking — The Earl of Airlie — Dr. Hugh 
Blair — Rev. Mr. Gordon and the Duke of Cumberland — Rev. 
William Veitch and Lord Minto —Alexander Peden — Rev. 
Robert Shirra — Precentors' announcements — Dr. Ritchie and 
the landowner — Dr Samuel Charters and the boor — Dr. 
M'Cubbin and Lord Braxfield — Rev. William Leslie — Dr. 
Alexander Webster — John Brown of Haddington's Courtship 17 



The Grave of Ossian — The MSS. of Ossian — James I. the origi- 
nator of Scottish music — James III. and Sir William Rogers 
— James VI. a Patron of the Poets — -The Earl of Stirling — 
Drummond of Hawthornden — Sir Robert Aytoun — Professor 
Aytoun — Professor Wilson — Lord Robertson, John Gibson 
Lockhart, and Sir Walter Scott — Scott and the Ettrick Shep- 
herd — Scott and Robert Burns — Recollections of Robert 
Burns — "Brace's Address to his Army" — Lady Nairn and 
her Songs — Mr. Oliphant of Gask — Lady Anne Barnard — 
Mrs. Agnes Lyon — Robert Fergusson — Allan Ramsay and 
his landlord — Thomas Campbell — John Leyden — James Hogg 
— Allan Cunningham and Cromek — James Grahame — Alex- 
ander and John Bethune — Michael Bruce — Robert Pollok — 
David Gray — Alexander Smith — Hugh Miller— Dr. Thomas 
Brown — Dr. William Tennant — Robert Tannahill — Robert 
Allan — Alexander Wilson, and others . . .54 





Pertinacity of Scottish suitors — The Stirlingshire lairds and the 
aged hawthorn — The Dunblane landowner — Andrew Nicol 
and his midden heap — Mr. Campbell of Laguine — Miss Shed- 
don and her law process — Sir James Campbell and his wife 
— Lord and Lady Gray — Lawyers' opinions about Law — 
Erskine of Grange— Lord Monboddo — Dr. John Hunter 
of St. Andrews — Lord Karnes — Karnes's Habit of Gossip — 
— Lord Braco — Lord Hermand's Irritability of Temper — 
Lord Auchinleck — Unpublished Anecdotes of Bos well — Lord 
Hailes — Sir George Mackenzie and the Earl of Bute — Lord 
President Dundas — Lord Gardenstone — Lord Braxfield — 
Lord Eskgrove — Lord Cockburn — Lords Jeffrey and Mon- 
creiff— Lord Chancellor Erskine — Alexander Wedderburn, 
Earl of Rosslyn — Hon. Henry Erskine — John Clerk, Lord 
Eldin — John Hagart of Bantaskine — Hugo Arnot — The 
Advocate and Professor Gregory — The Presbytery of Meigle 
— Mr. William Roger and John Gunn the Freebooter — Lord 
Melville and Deacon Webster .... 



Queen Margaret Atheling — James I. and Richard II. — Jock 
Howison — James II. and Bishop Kennedy — Remarkable story 
of James IV. and Margaret Drummond — James V. — James 
VI. and the Edinburgh professors — Prince Charles Edward 
— Miss Flora Macdonald — George IV. — The Provost of Leith 
— Queen Victoria and the farmer — The Queen and the cottar's 
wife — Pedigree of the Empress of the French — A Sultana — 
A blacksmith's daughter becoming an Empress 



Henry David, Earl of Buchan, and Prince Charles Edward — 
David Stuart, Earl of Buchan — James Boswell — Sir John 
Dinely — Francis Macnab, of Macnab — Master of Cultoquhey 
and the Duke of Atholl — Francis Semple and the military 
commander — James Sibbald — Dr. Walter Anderson and 
Principal Robertson — Professor Wilkie of St. Andrews — Lord 



Gardenstone — Dr. Adam Smith — Professor Hamilton of Aber- 
deen — Dr. Thomas Blacklock — John Barclay and his wife — 
Thomas Coutts — Alexander Cruden — Rev. G. R. Gleig and 
Calvinistic Theology — Hugh Miller — Durham of Largo — A 
town-clerk of Stirling and the Earl of Menteith — "William, 
Lord Panmure — The Duke of Gordon as a gaberlunzie — 
Miss Stirling Graham — Lord Jeffrey taken in — Sir Hugh 
Lyon Play fair — The "bully" and his conqueror — A curling- 
match — Neil Gow — Nathaniel Gow and George IV. . .164 



Rev. John Welch and Louis XIII. — The preservation of the 
Regalia — Sir William Wallace in female attire — Sir Alex- 
ander Boswell and the Burns' monument in Ayrshire — Bos- 
welliana — Story related by old Lord Elcho — Robert Pollok 
— Dr. Cullen — Lady Wallace and David Hume — Professor 
Davidson and his students — Andrew Gemmels and the re- 
cruiting sergeant — Lord Melville and the barber — Mrs. Glen 
Gordon and General Hawley — Lady Wallace and the Edin- 
burgh fashions — The Farmer and the Schoolmaster — The 
Three Porters — The Old Lady and the Mendicant — Blind 
Alick of Stirling — A Countess of Strathmore — Parsimony of 
Dr. Glen — Family Register of a Northern Farmer — An Ig- 
norant Examiner of Military Schools — Ignorance of a Scottish 
Historian — The Cobbler and his Nocturnal Visitor — The Poor 
Woman and the Sheriff— Scottish Rights . . .202 



Ancient calumnies — Wallace — Robert II. — James III. — Queen 
Mary — The Earl Marischal and Abbey of Deer — The Regent 
Mar and Cambuskenneth Abbey — The Lord President 
Dundas — The Stirling trader — Tombstone inscriptions — In- 
stances of longevity — Sign-boards and finger-posts — Provin- 
cial rhymes — Story of Lord Byron — An Earl of Aberdeen — 
The late Earl of Leven and Craig Clatchart — Rhymes about 
certain localities — Family characteristics — Rhymes about 
notable persons — The three Jacobite ladies — A poetical 
bookseller — The rhyming shopkeepers — Hugo Arnot — Rev. 
John Ross and his pulpit rhymes . . . .228 






Adventurous spirit of the Scots — Sir Robert Aytoun — Dr. 
Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury — James Macpherson — Dr. 
Andrew Bell — Bishop Strachan — Professor Beattie — Sir 
David Wilkie — Lord Chancellor Campbell— Dr. Robert Watt 
— Governor Macrae — James Earl of Glencairn — The Earl of 
Stirling — Robert Menteith — Colonel Edmond — Lieutenant 
General Anderson — Callander of Craigforth — General Scott 
— William Forbes of Callander — A Scotsman and the French 
Revolution — Alexander Selkirk — Scottish smuggling — Wil- 
liam IV. and his Scottish courtier .... 258 



William Ged and the Edinburgh printers — A Scottish minister 
and the percussion cap— James Watt and the Glasgow ham- 
mermen — Dr. James Anderson and his discoveries — James 
Smith of Deanston — Henry Bell and the Steamboat — Wil- 
liam Playfair — Dr. Smollett — Robert Mudie — Dr. Thomas 
Dick — William Thorn — John Younger — Mary Pyper — Andrew 
Scott— William Nicholson — Isobel Pagan — Stuart Lewis — 
Thomas Lyle — William Glen — Alexander Hume — Peter 
Buchan — John Struthers — Elliot Aitchison — Andrew Park — 
James Macfarlane ...... 288 



Lord Clyde — David Roberts, R.A. — James Nisbet, the publisher 
— Dr. James Mounsey and his monument — The Grand Duke 
Nicholas and the Scottish youth — A prophecy of Alexander 
Peden — A prototype of Madge Wildfire — Story of Jenny 
Nettles — The remains of Gil Morice— Johnny Faa and the 
Countess of Cassilis — Helen of Kirkconnell — Bessy Bell and 
Mary Gray — Lord Lynedoch — Drummond of Hawthornden 
— Escape of Lord Ogilvie — The Countess of Strathmore and 
her groom — Lord Dalmeny's marriage — Chisholm of Cromlix 
and his confidant — Courtship of Dr. Abernethy — " The Boatie 
Rows"— David Mallet— Allan Masterton . . .300 






" Along the cool, sequestered vale of life, 
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way." 


The cursory reader of Scottish history is apt to form 
an erroneous estimate of the older clergy. On the 
surface they appear as gloomy and morose persons 
wedded to a stern routine of life, and inflexibly 
opposed to social enjoyment. The truth lies in pre- 
cisely the opposite direction. Tenacious of sound doc- 
trine, and deeply attached to simple forms of worship, 
the older clergy were, in private life, distinguished 
for their generous sentiments and exemplary urbanity. 
The great reformer, John Knox, was in the council- 
chamber of Queen Mary bold and uncompromising, 
because it behoved him there to maintain his right 



of assembling the lieges for worship. He rebuked 
the maids of honour, who smiled as they saw him 
proceed to the Queen's presence, believing, as they 
did, that he was on his way to ruin. But Knox was 
in private life abundantly genial. He was a favourite 
in female society. By pious gentlewomen he was 
greatly beloved. When, an old man, he married, as 
his second wife, the daughter of a nobleman, his 
adversaries said he had obtained the lady's consent 
by sorcery. He approved of the Geneva system for 
the government of the Scottish Church, but he did 
not disapprove of Episcopal forms. He educated his 
sons at the University of Oxford. 

In 1556, Knox was residing at Castle Campbell, 
Clackmannanshire, with Archibald fourth Earl of Ar- 
gyle, the first Scottish nobleman who embraced the 
Protestant doctrines. A small eminence at the castle 
is pointed out as the scene where the Eeformer dis- 
pensed the Holy Communion, on one of the first 
occasions that the ordinance, according to the Ee- 
formed method, was celebrated in Scotland. Castle 
Campbell, which rests upon a ridge of the Ochil 
hills, is approached through a wooded ravine. In 
this solitary dell, Knox had one day retired for 
meditation and prayer. He heard the voices of two 
young men from an adjoining footpath. They were 
engaged in animated conversation. Certain words 
reached the Eeformer's ear, which indicated the sub- 
ject of their colloquy. They were discussing the sub- 
ject of Popery and Protestantism. One of the youths 


seemed to have cordially embraced the Reformed 
doctrines, the other was firmly wedded to the old 
faith. The debate grew warm. Keen expressions 
fell on both sides. They were about to be nearly 
related : the sister of the one in a few days was to 
become the wife of the other. This consideration 
did not weigh. The passions of both became excited. 
They talked loud, and mutually indulged in severe 
menaces. The Eeformer left his retreat, and silently 
followed them along the footpath. A blow was 
struck, which was immediately returned. The youths 
were violently grappling each other when the Re- 
former stood before them. Subdued by the gravity 
of his presence, they unlocked their grasps. The 
stranger counselled forbearance. He knew, he said, 
the subject of their quarrel. He recommended them 
to listen to John Knox, who was to preach on the 
Castle promontory next evening : till then they 
should part. By some persuasion he secured com- 
pliance with his request. The youths separated, to 
meet again as the stranger had suggested. True to 
their engagement, they appeared next evening in the 
congregation. The preacher proved to be the per- 
sonage who had interrupted their hostilities. They 
listened with eagerness to his burning words. The 
Protestant was confirmed in his views ; the Catholic 
was awakened to his errors. At the close of the 
service, both waited on the Eeformer and entreated 
his blessing. They vowed mutual reconciliation in 
his presence. The Romanist was received into the- 


Protestant Church. " A word spoken in due season, 
how good is it !" 

George Buchanan is another of the Scottish Ee- 
foriners whose name has been associated with violent 
measures and harsh ways. In reality Buchanan was 
a good-natured man and a hearty humorist. When 
he was discharging the duties of preceptor to the 
young James VI., he discovered his royal pupil's 
weakness in complying with every request presented 
to him. One day he handed two papers to the 
juvenile monarch, which he requested him to sign. 
James readily attached his name to the documents, 
without perusing either, or making any particular 
inquiry as to their contents. In one of the papers, 
he had formally transferred the royal authority to 
his tutor for the term of fifteen days. Buchanan 
now began to assume the state and importance of a 
sovereign. Being addressed by one of the courtiers 
with the usual salutation, when the young king 
was present, he announced that he should expect to 
be approached with more ceremony, since he had 
obtained the dignity of the crown. James, who 
began to suspect that his preceptor had suddenly 
lost his reason, asked for an explanation. " You are 
my subject," said Buchanan, "since you have devolved 
upon me the royal authority for fifteen days. There 
is the instrument," added he, "by which I have 
received from you my sovereignty" — placing the 
document before his pupil. Buchanan improved 
the occasion by administering to the inexperienced 


monarch a suitable lecture on his habitual rash- 

When Buchanan was old and beset with infirmi- 
ties, he received a visit from his friends, Andrew and 
James Melville. They expected to have found him 
occupied with his great work, " The History of Scot- 
land," which was then passing through the press. 
He was employed otherwise. When they entered 
his chamber, he was teaching his young serving-man 
to use the letters. " A b, ab ; e b, eb," and so on, 
were the simple lessons which the instructor of the 
Scottish sovereign condescendingly taught the youth 
who served him. " You are not idle, sir, I perceive," 
said Andrew Melville, as he grasped the extended hand 
of his venerated friend. " Better than stealing sheep 
or sitting idle, which is as ill," quaintly responded 
the benevolent sage. A more interesting scene has 
not been presented in the life-history of any man of 

Few persons will be persuaded that Andrew Mel- 
ville was of other than a saturnine cast of mind. 
That he was more prone to ebullitions of temper on 
public occasions than any of the other reformers 
may be admitted. He was more of a Nathanael than 
a courtier. The General Assembly had entrusted him 
to present a remonstrance to the King, representing 
their want of confidence in some of the royal coun- 
cillors. Of these the most obnoxious was the Earl 
of Arran. When Melville was brought to the King's 
presence at Perth, and the remonstrance which he 


presented was read, Arran exclaimed, in a tone of me- 
nace, "Who dares subscribe these treasonable articles ?" 
" We dare," said Melville, advancing to the table, and 
there affixing his signature to the document. 

At an interview with the Eegent Morton, Melville 
had expressed sentiments adverse to some portion of 
his public policy. In a moment of irritation, Morton 
exclaimed, "There will never be quietness in this 
country till half-a-dozen of you are hanged or ban- 
ished." "Threaten your courtiers in that manner," 
said Melville : " it is the same to me whether I rot 
in the air or in the ground. The earth is the Lord's. 
I have been ready to give my life when it would not 
have been half so well expended. I have lived out 
of your country ten years. Let God be glorified ; 
you cannot hang or exile his truth." 

A General Assembly had been held at Cupar-Fife. 
The two Melvilles were deputed by the meeting to 
wait on the King at Falkland, to exhort him against 
acceding to certain measures of his council which 
were inimical to the Church. James Melville, who 
had been appointed spokesman, on account of his 
more courtly manners, began to set forth the object 
of the deputation. He had not proceeded far when 
the King, interrupting him, characterized the meeting 
of the Assembly as illegal and seditious. This was 
language which Andrew Melville could not tolerate, 
even from his sovereign. He rose up, and taking 
hold of the King's sleeve, called him, "God's silly* 

* Weak. 


vassal." He then sturdily set forth the claims of 
the Presbyterian Church, concluding, — " There are 
two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland. There 
is King James, the head of the commonwealth ; and 
there is Christ Jesus, the head of the Church, whose 
subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom 
he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a mem- 
ber." It is curious to find that from an interview 
which had a commencement so stormy, the King and 
Andrew Melville parted good friends. 

In his old age, Melville was banished from his 
native land. He was expatriated on a charge of 
treason, craftily got up, because of his continued 
resistance to the royal measures respecting the Scot- 
tish Church. It is interesting to remark that the 
old man composed, in his seventy-fourth year, an 
ode on the marriage of the daughter of his constant 
friend, the Duke of Bouillon. 

The most witty of the Scottish clergy at the 
Eeformation period was David Ferguson, minister 
of Dunfermline. He was well known to the King, 
who, though he did not relish his strong views in 
favour of Presbyterianism, was otherwise well affected 
towards him. The Master of Gray had proved an 
apostate, by abandoning the Protestant doctrines for 
those of the Eomish Church. It was reported among 
the more zealous Presbyterians that, since his apos- 
tasy, his house had often been shaken as by an earth- 
quake. The King, when a boy of fourteen years, 
asked Mr. Ferguson whether he really believed that. 


Gray's house was shaken. " Sir," said Ferguson, 
"why should not the Devil rock his ain bairns?" 

Ferguson was appointed by the General Assembly 
to wait upon the King at Falkland, along with a 
deputation of the brethren. As James was under- 
stood to be extremely displeased by the proceedings 
of the Assembly, Ferguson commenced the inter- 
view by endeavouring to put the monarch in good 
humour. When the deputation was introduced, the 
King made an observation on the subject of sur- 
names. " On that matter." said Ferguson, " I can 
reckon with the best of you in antiquity, for Fergus 
was the first king of Scotland, and I am Fergus'-son. 
But as you are an honest man, and have got posses- 
sion, I will yield you my right." The King laughed 
heartily, and requested Ferguson to proceed. After 
hearing the complaint which he presented, James 
said impatiently, " There is no king in Europe would 
have endured what I have suffered." " I woidd not 
have you, sire," said Ferguson, " like any other king 
in Europe. Many of them are murderers, but you 
have differently been brought up." He then pro- 
ceeded to commend portions of the monarch's met- 
rical translations of the Psalms, and the interview 
terminated pleasantly. 

James Guthrie, minister of Stirling, was a stanch 
Presbyterian. He was a leader of the Protesters, 
who denounced all who joined the royal army with- 
out subscribing the Covenant. This course was 
prejudicial to the interests of Charles IL, who was 


then (1651) courting the favour of the Scottish 
Presbyterians, through whose assistance he hoped 
to obtain the Crown. With a view to mollify his 
strong views, Charles paid Guthrie a visit in the 
manse of Stirling. As the royal visitor entered the 
apartment, Mrs. Guthrie hastened to hand him a 
chair. Mr. Guthrie interfered. "Stop, my heart," 
said he, "the King is a young man, he can get a 
chair for himself." Charles did not proceed further 
in making his request. When he came to power, 
some years after, he hanged Mr. Guthrie. 

The celebrated Samuel Eutherford was extremely 
wedded to Presbyterianism. This is abundantly 
evident from his published works. His earnest 
piety and ministerial devotedness secured him a 
wide reputation among many eminent persons in 
the sister Church of England, who could only regret 
the narrowness of his sectarian views. Archbishop 
Usher was, in the course of a tour, passing through 
Galloway, and being within a few miles of Euther- 
ford's parish of Anworth, he was seized with a 
strong desire to proceed thither. He did so, and 
knocked at Eutherford's door. He was readily 
admitted. Eepresenting himself as a tourist, he 
claimed permission to rest himself for a little. It 
was Saturday evening, and the hospitable minister 
would not permit the stranger to proceed further 
on his journey till the Sabbath was past. Euther- 
ford adopted at family worship that evening a 
method which obtained long afterwards in Scottish 



households. "When he had read a chapter, he put 
questions to each member of the family on the lead- 
ing topics which it contained. He likewise ques- 
tioned the stranger. " How many commandments 
are there ? " said Eutherford to his guest. " Eleven," 
replied the visitor. " Xo, you are wrong," said 
Paitherford ; "there are just ten." "Did not our 
Saviour say/' rejoined the stranger, "'A new com- 
mandment I give unto you, That ye love one 
another' ?"* Eutherford was struck by the observa- 
tion, and at once perceived that his visitor was 
familiar with the Scriptures. 

Next morning the pastor of Anworth rose early, 
and, as was his habit on Sunday mornings, pro- 
ceeded to a retired part of his glebe to meditate 
on his discourses. A narrow strip of plantation 
skirted this portion of the glebe, which was guarded 
by a sunk fence. From this fence Eutherford heard 
the voice of prayer. Concealed by the plantation 
and the upper boundary of the fence, he paused 
and listened. He recognised the voice of his guest, 
and remarked that his devotional expressions were 
singularly felicitous. At length the stranger began 
to pray fervently for the clergy and people under 
his care. Eutherford now perceived that he was 
entertaining a bishop. After breakfast, he repeated 
to his guest what he had heard, and informed him 
as to his belief concerning his rank. " I will tell 
you all," said Usher, who now revealed his name 

* John xiii. 34. 


and rank, and expressed the satisfaction he experi- 
enced in gaining admission to the presence of one 
whose praise was in all the churches. " I perceive," 
said the Presbyterian minister, "the grace of God 
is not confined to the members of any particular 
denomination. Will you preach for me to-day?" 
The archbishop readily consented ; and adopting the 
usual Presbyterian forms, preached an admirable 
discourse, the subject being the new commandment. 
Usher and his host remained attached friends during 
their mutual lives. 

"When William III. ascended the throne, at the 
Eevolution, he was chiefly guided in Scottish ecclesi- 
astical affairs by the counsel of Principal Carstairs 
of Edinburgh. This excellent man, while deeply 
attached to the Presbyterian system, and though 
he had experienced personal torture at the hands 
of those who sought its overthrow, was most kindly 
disposed towards the deprived Episcopal clergy. One 
of their number, named Caddell, often called upon 
him. Observing his clothes to be somewhat shabby, 
he ordered a suit for a person of his size. When Mr. 
Caddell next called, Carstairs put on the new gar- 
ments, and proceeded to censure his tailor for mis- 
fitting him. "They are quite useless to me," he 
said; "they may, however, fit some of my friends. 
By the way, they are just your size ! Try them on." 
Mr. Caddell complied, and the fit was found to be 
exact. The poor clergyman reluctantly accepted 
the suit. When he got home he found the sum 



of ten pounds in one of the pockets, and on the 
paper enclosing it was written, " To the Eev. John 
Caddell, from his friend, William Carstairs." 

It is much to be regretted that the liberality of 
Eutherford and Carstairs has not descended to our 
own times. We have heard of a dissenting minister 
— eminent as a divine, and possessing many esti- 
mable qualities — who, twenty years after the Dis- 
ruption of 1843, assured his friends that he had not, 
since that event, shaken hands with any clergyman 
of the Established Church. 

A late Cameronian minister at Denholm, Eox- 
burghshire, concluded his prayers every Sunday 
morning by the petition, " Pull down papacy, prelacy, 
independency, will-worship, and all superstition !" 

A more pleasing illustration of the "new com- 
mandment " may be related of an English clergy- 
man of our acquaintance, who, in the course of a 
visit to Scotland a few years ago, preached in pulpits 
belonging to three different Presbyterian denomina- 
tions. " Behold, how good and how pleasant it is 
for brethren to dwell together in unity !" 

In the year 1618, James VI. published his "Book 
of Sports." To render the Presbyterian system less 
rigid, the monarch commanded that certain sports, 
which he characterized as "lawful to be observed," 
should be played in the several churchyards every 
Sunday, at the close of divine service. John Eoss> 
minister of Blairgowrie, adopted a novel method 
of withstanding the royal ordinance. He was a 


strong, athletic man, and seemed much interested 
in the recreations enjoined by the monarch. Foot- 
ball was selected by the parishioners of Blairgowrie 
from the list of "the Sunday games." "When the 
services of the church were completed, Mr. Boss 
appeared among his people in the churchyard, and 
proceeded to join them in their sport. Throwing 
his coat on a tombstone, he said, — 

" Lie ye there, 
Minister o' Blair, 
Till I, John Ross, 
Get a game at the ba\" 

None of the assemblage kicked more eagerly at the 
football than did the reverend incumbent. But 
constant misfortune seemed to attend him, for 
every kick missed the ball and fell heavily on the 
ankles of those w T ho stood near. Apologies were 
promptly tendered, and of course readily received, 
though every Sunday many of the players returned 
home halting. At length it was agreed that, on 
account of the minister's awkwardness, the games 
should be abandoned. This was the end contem- 
plated by the ingenious divine. 

Among the few members of the priesthood 
who, at the Eeformation, espoused the Protestant 
doctrines, was John M'Vicar, priest of Inverary. 
He was a person of the mildest disposition, and 
abundantly tolerant. Unable to induce a consider- 
able portion of his parishioners to embrace the 
Eeformed tenets, he accommodated himself to their 


prejudices by continuing to administer to them the 
rites of the Eomish Church. There remains at the 
manse of Inveraiy an octagonal stone, with two 
fonts, in one of which Mr. M' Vicar baptized the 
Protestant members of his flock, while the other 
contained holy water for the administration of the 
ordinance to those who adhered to the old faith. 

St. Serf, or Servanus, an ecclesiastic of the sixth 
century, has a traditional celebrity for his piety 
and virtues. He was prior of a monastery on an 
islet in Lochleven, which retains his name. He 
made considerable journeys of a missionary cha- 
racter, in which he was attended by a pet ram, 
that shared his chamber and lay at his feet like a 
dog. When the saint was on a visit to Tillicoultry, 
accompanied by his favourite, the laird of the place, 
who had conceived an aversion to the churchman, 
seized the animal, put it to death, and had it pre- 
pared for his table. The narrative is thus given by 
Wyntoun, the metrical chronicler : — 

" This holy man had a ram 
That he had fed up of a lam, 
And usit him to follow aye 
Wherever he passit in his way. 
A thief this sceppe in Ackien stal, 
And ete him up in pieces smal. 
When Sanct Serf his ram had miss'd, 
Wha that it stal was few that wist; 
On presumption, nevirtheless, 
He that it stal arrestit was ; 
And till Sanct Serf syne was he broucht. 
That schiepe he said that he stal nocht ; 


And tharfor for to sweir an athe 
He said that he walde nocht be laith ; 
But sune he blushit rede for schame, 
The schiepe it bletit in his wayme. 
Sa was he detectit schamefullie, 
And at Sanct Serf askit mercie." 

The saint was not disposed to pass over the offence 
lightly. He uttered a prediction, that no heir bom 
to the laird's estate of Tillicoultry should obtain 
possession of the inheritance. Whatever truth may 
be bound up in the story, it is sufficiently remark- 
able that during the course of the last two centuries 
the estate of. Tillicoultry has been possessed by 
thirteen different families, and that no heir born to 
it has become the actual owner. In the year 1780 
the estate was entailed, a circumstance which seemed 
likely to discontinue the force of the prophecy, but 
the validity of the entail being questioned, it was, 
owing to the want of a single expression, found to 
be null. The result led to the sale of the property, 
and the disappointment of the heir-expectant. 

There is another priestly legend connected with 
the hamlet of Tillicoultry. A large stone in the 
parish churchyard is associated with the following 
tradition : — The laird of the place had differed with 
one of the monks of Cambuskenneth Abbey respect- 
ing the payment of tithes. In the course of the 
dispute, the laird smote the holy father with his 
fist, and laid him prostrate. In process of time 
the laird died, and was interred in the churchyard. 


On the morning after the funeral, the hand of the 
deceased, which had smitten the monk, projected 
from the grave, clenched as if in the act of giving a 
blow. The villagers were horrified by the spectacle ; 
but at length some of them summoned courage to 
restore the laird's hand to its place in the coffin. 
But next morning the priest-smiting hand reappeared 
above the surface, clenched as before. Again was the 
disjoined arm placed in the coffin, but a third time it 
appeared above the surface. Some of the villagers 
had seen a band of evil spirits in the form of monks 
operating on the grave during the course of the 
night. A large stone was now placed above the 
resting-place of the deceased, and the hand was not 
further disturbed. 

In the reign of James II., Peter Beaton, priest of 
Tullibody, professed an attachment to Martha, daugh- 
ter of Wishart, laird of Myreton. The maiden, in the 
hope of his abandoning the monastic life, cordially 
reciprocated his affection ; but the priest, lured by 
the hope of ecclesiastical preferment, proved insin- 
cere, and renounced the fair object of his vows. The 
maiden died of a broken heart. Shortly before her 
death she preferred the request that her remains 
might be enclosed in a stone coffin, to be placed near 
the door of the chapel by which her false lover 
entered to the performance of his priestly rites. The 
unworthy churchman saw the sarcophagus, and, 
reflecting on his falsehood, became distracted; he 
died in the ravings of insanity. 


The vicar of Dollar, Dean Thomas Forret, was 
one of the first martyrs who suffered under the 
regime of Cardinal Beaton. With four others, he 
was executed at Edinburgh on the 29 th February? 
1539. At his trial, which was conducted at a council 
held by the Cardinal, he was accused of preaching to 
his parishioners — a duty then solely devolving on the 
friars, of explaining the Scriptures in the vernacular 
tongue, of instructing his flock in the Decalogue, and 
of teaching them to repeat the Lord's Prayer in their 
own language. During his examination, Crichton, 
bishop of Dunkeld, remonstrated with him on the 
impropriety of his preaching every Sabbath, as a 
similar amount of duty might be required of the 
bishop. Crichton added that he himself had suc- 
ceeded indifferently well, though he contented him- 
self with his "Portuis" and Pontifical; and that 
he could thank God he had lived many years and 
had never read either the Old or New Testaments. 

John Gray, who became minister of Dollar after 
the Eevolution, w r as, on account of his opulence and 
integrity, entrusted by his parishioners and neigh- 
bours with the care of their savings. Owing to 
some circumstance his credit had become doubtful. 
Learning that a run was to be made upon him which 
he felt unable to satisfy, he had recourse to an in- 
genious device to restore his reputation. Along the 
wall of his deposit room he arranged a number of 
pewter pint measures, filled with sand nearly to the 
brim. Into the small space left at the mouth, he 



placed a number of gold and silver coins, so that the 
measures seemed full of the precious metals. A few 
of them really were filled with coins ; and so, when 
the first applicant requested his deposits, he was told 
he should have them, and forthwith one of the 
vessels was emptied on the table. The rustic, seeing 
such a display of money, confessed that he had been 
misled by a rumour which he now perceived to 
be groundless, and he returned his deposits to the 
minister's keeping. This had the effect of entirely 
restoring confidence in Mr. Gray. 

In smuggling times, the clergyman was often con- 
sulted as to the best means of avoiding detection from 
the officers of excise. " "What am I to do, sir, if the 
gauger comes ? " said a smuggler to his minister, 
"for ilka drap is i' the hoose." "Just tell the truth," 
said the minister, "and leave the event to Provi- 
dence." The smuggler consented very reluctantly ; 
u for," said he, " if the gauger tak's the drink, I'm a 
ruined man." In a few days, as the smuggler had 
anticipated, an exciseman entered his dwelling, and 
demanded where he had concealed his contraband 
merchandise. "Weel, I'll jist tell the plain truth," 
said the smuggler, " every drap is in a big hole under 
the bed." u You rascal," said the exciseman ; " if it 
had been there you would not have been so ready in 
avowing it." So the officer searched the entire 
premises save the spot indicated, and then left 
grumbling that he had not effected a detection. Next 
day the smuggler waited on his minister to express 


his gratitude for his counsel. "I tauld the truth, 
sir," said he, " jist as ye required, an' the gauger wadna 
believe me. Had I dune onything else, nae doubt a' 
had been deteckit. I shall noo, sir, aye tell the 
truth, even to the gauger ; for it is, as you said, best 
for a body i' the end." 

A clergyman in the North of Scotland was reprov- 
ing a parishioner for his habits of intemperance. He 
represented to him that whisky was his greatest 
enemy. " Are we not told in Scripture to love our 
enemies," said the irreverent bacchanalian. "Yes, 
John," responded the minister ; " but it is not said 
we are to swallow them." 

The Duke of Queensberry had invited his parish 
minister to dinner, to meet the Earl of Airlie, who 
was on a visit to Drumlanrig Castle. The minister 
was very facetious, and Lord Airlie, who had not met 
him before, was much interested in his conversation. 
As it was Saturday evening, the minister begged to 
be allowed to depart early. But as he rose to leave, 
the Earl begged he would remain a little longer, — 
"Just another glass, and then — " said his lordship. 
He was repeatedly detained with these words, and 
was only able to accomplish his retreat when the 
Duke and his guest were unable longer to delay 
it. The minister was much disgusted by the means 
taken to prevent his departure and with the excessive 
convivialities of the castle, and he therefore pre- 
pared a discourse for next morning's service on the 
evils of intemperance. When he had preached half 


an hour, lie requested the precentor to turn the pulpit 
sand-glass in these words, "Another glass, and 
then — " The discourse was not lost upon two of his 
hearers, for whose benefit it was especially intended. 

After the deep religious enthusiasm of the seven- 
teenth century had subsided, two parties arose in the 
Scottish Church. One of these retained the evan- 
gelical sentiments of the Eeformers, the other upheld 
a decent conformity to the moral duties as mainly 
constituting the plan of salvation. Towards the 
close of last century, the collegiate ministers of the 
High Church of Edinburgh were leaders of the 
opposing parties. Dr. Hugh Blair, an eloquent 
preacher and accomplished rhetorician, set forth in 
charming words the excellency of virtue, and insisted 
on strict attention to the requirements of the law of 
morals. His colleague, Dr. Eobert Walker, power- 
fully set forth the doctrine of the Atonement as the 
only ground of the sinner's acceptance. One Sunday 
morning, Dr. Blair preached on his favourite theme 
— the beauty of virtue, when he used the following 
apostrophe, " 0 Virtue, if thou wert embodied, all 
men would love thee ! " The afternoon's service was 
conducted by Dr. Walker, who, in the course of his 
sermon, used these words, " Virtue has been em- 
bodied. Did all men love her ? No, she was des- 
pised and rejected of men, who, after defaming, 
insulting, and scourging her, led her to Calvary, where 
they crucified her between two thieves." 

The Eev. Mr. Gordon, minister of Alvie, harboured 


some rebels, who, escaping from the battle of Cullo- 
den, threw themselves on his bounty. For the 
alleged offence, he was brought before the Duke of 
Cumberland, at Inverness. Mr. Gordon, on being 
ushered into the Duke's presence, said, "I am 
straitened, your Eoyal Highness, between two con- 
trary commands, both proceeding from high authority. 
My heavenly King's Son commands me to feed the 
hungry, to clothe the naked, to give meat and drink 
to my very enemies, and to relieve to the utmost of 
my power all objects in distress indiscriminately that 
come in my way. My earthly king's son commands 
me to drive the houseless wanderer from my door, to 
shut my bowels of compassion against the cries of 
the needy, and to withhold from my fellow mortals 
in distress the relief which is in my power to afford. 
Pray, which of these commands am I to obey ? " 
" By all means," replied the Duke, " obey the com- 
mand of your heavenly King's Son. Your character 
is very different from what it has been represented. 
Go home in peace, and act conformably to the bene- 
volent spirit of that Gospel which you are profess- 
edly employed to preach and to explain." 

In his memoir of the Eev. William Veitch, Dr. 
M'Crie relates the following narrative : — " When 
Lord Minto visited Dumfries, of which Mr. Veitch 
was minister, after the Eevolution, he always spent 
some time with his friend, when their conversation 
often turned upon the perils of their former life. On 
these occasions his lordship was accustomed face- 


tiously to say, ' Ah ! "Willie, Willie, had it no been 
for me the pyots* had been pyking your pate on the 
Nether Bow port ; 9 to which Veitch replied, ' Ah ! 
Gibbie, Gibbie, had it no been for me ye would hae 
been yet writing papers for a plack-f* the page.' " 
The friends had indeed been good mutual benefac- 
tors. Veitch was condemned to die under the tyran- 
nical government of James VII., and the successful 
efforts of his friend in procuring his freedom tended 
to his own elevation from the place of an attorney 
to a seat on the bench as a lord of session. 

Mr. Alexander Peden, the famous Covenanter, with 
some of his adherents, had been hotly pursued by the 
dragoons of the Government. Nearly exhausted by 
the rapidity of the flight, Peden ascended a small hill, 
and prayed thus, — " 0 Lord, this is the hour and the 
power of Thine enemies. They may not be idle ; but 
hast Thou no other work for them, than to send 
them after us ? Send them after them to whom 
Thou wilt gie strength to flee, for our strength is 
gane. Turn them about the hill, 0 Lord, and cast 
the lap o' Thy cloak over puir Saunders, and thir 
puir things, and save us this ae time, and we will 
keep it in remembrance, and tell to the commenda- 
tion of Thy guidness, Thy pity and compassion, what 
Thou didst for us at sic a time." A cloud of mist 
arose, which enabled Peden and his party to escape. 
Meanwhile orders arrived that the dragoons should 

* " Magpies picking your head." 
f A plack is equal to the third part of a penny. 


proceed in quest of Eenwick and another party of 

Mr. Thomas Mitchell, minister -of Lamington, adop- 
ted a quaint phraseology in his pulpit services. In 
praying for suitable harvest weather, he expressed 
himself thus : " 0 Lord, gie us nane o' your rantin', 
tantin', tearin' winds, but a thunnerin', dunnerin', 
dryin' wind/ 99 

Mr. James Oliphant, minister of Dumbarton, was 
especially quaint in his public prelections. When 
reading the Scriptures, he was in the habit of making 
comments in undertones — on which account seats 
near the pulpit were much prized, and best filled. 
It is said, in reading the passage of the possessed 
swine running into the deep and being there choked, 
he was heard to mutter, "Oh, that the devil had 
been choked too ! 99 Again, in the passage as to Peter 
exclaiming, " We have left all and followed thee ! " 
the remark was, " Aye boasting, Peter, aye bragging ; 
— what had ye to leave but an auld crazy boat and 
maybe twa or three rotten nets ? 99 

Mr. Eobert Shirra, of the Secession Church, Kirk- 
caldy, was one of the most remarkable of the old 
school of Scottish divines. With a dignified pre- 
sence, he combined a vigorous intellect, and a quaint- 
ness of speech, which rendered him an extraordinary 
favourite with the people. Many odd stories have 
been, without much foundation, associated with his 
name. Those which follow are unquestionably genuine. 

When the first outburst of the first French revolu- 


tion induced many unsettled and ignorant persons in 
this country to dream of a universal reign of liberty 
and equality, several members of Mr. Shirra's congre- 
gation waited upon him to obtain an expression of 
his views. Perceiving that his visitors were carried 
away by the prevailing sentiments, Mr. Shirra de- 
clined to give an immediate reply. The subject he 
said was so important, that he would study it fully 
and deliberately before venturing on a deliverance. 
When his opinion was matured, he would publicly 
declare it from the pulpit. Probably he might do so 
on the following Sunday. 

The deputation were delighted with the minister's 
reception, and the kind promise which had been 
elicited. News of the intended discourse on liberty, 
equality, and fraternity, spread rapidly in the dis- 
trict. Next Sunday Mr. Shirra's place of worship was 
densely crowded, hundreds of the working-classes 
present being full of expectation. 

The service proceeded in the usual manner. Having 
preached an earnest evangelical discourse, Mr. Shirra 
closed the Bible and spoke as follows : — " My friends, 
I had a call from some of you the other day, desiring 
to know my opinion on liberty and equality, when I 
told you if you came here to-day, I might let you 
know. Now, since I had your visit, I have travelled 
in spirit all over the universe, and I shall just tell 
you what I have seen in my travels. I have tra- 
velled over the earth, its frozen and burning zones, 
mountains and valleys, moist places and dry, fertile 


lands and sandy deserts, and I have found men 
and children, big and little, strong and weak, wise 
and ignorant, good and bad, powerful and helpless, 
rich and poor. No equality there ! I have travelled 
through the sea, its depths and shoals, rocks and 
sandbanks, whirlpools and eddies, and I have found 
monsters and worms, whales and herrings, sharks 
and shrimps, mackerel and sprats, the strong devour- 
ing the weak, and the big swallowing the little. No 
equality there ! I have ascended to heaven with 
its greater and lesser lights, suns and satellites, and 
I have found thrones and dominions, principalities 
and powers, angels and archangels, cherubim and 
seraphim. No equality there ! I have descended 
into hell, and there I have found Beelzebub, the 
prince of devils, and his grim counsellors, Moloch and 
Belial, tyrannizing over the other devils, and all of 
them over wicked men's souls. No equality there ! 

" This is what I have seen in my travels, and I 
think I have travelled far enough ; but if any of you 
are not altogether satisfied with what I have told you, 
and wish to go in search of liberty and equality your- 
selves, you may find them somewhere that I have 
not visited. You need not travel the same road that 
I have done, for I can tell you positively you will 
not find what you want on the earth, neither in the 
sea, neither in heaven, neither in hell. If you think 
of finding them anywhere else, you may try. Mean- 
while I have given you all the information I can- 
It rests with you to make proper use of it." 


Indecorous conduct in church was reproved by Mr. 
Shirra with a freedom which was characteristic of the 
earnestness of his character. Seeing a young person 
asleep in the gallery, he called on those sitting near 
to arouse him ; " For/' said he, " should he fall down 
dead as the young man did in St. Paul's time, he 
may lie dead for me; I am not able like Paul to 
raise him to life again." On another occasion, a 
member of a volunteer corps, who came in rather 
late, was walking about in search of a seat, and, as 
Mr. Shirra supposed, to create attention to his new 
uniform. " Sit down, man," said Mr. Shirra, " w 7 e'll see 
your new breeks when the kirk skails." 

Trade had been unusually brisk among the weavers 
of Kirkcaldy, and they had consequently been in the 
habit of drinking late on the Saturday evenings — 
sometimes sallying forth on the Sunday morning, to 
the great annoyance of the sober and serious inhabit- 
ants. In his prayer after sermon one Sunday morn- 
ing, Mr. Shirra, in allusion to the unhappy custom, 
spoke thus : — " 0 Lord, while we recommend to Thy 
fatherly care and protection all ranks and conditions of 
men, we in a particular manner pray for the check- 
and-ticking weavers of Kirkcaldy. In Thy wisdom 
and mercy be pleased to send them either mair 
sense or less siller." 

For a period the Kirkcaldy fishermen had been 
suffering from the scarcity of fish. On the return of 
better times, Mr. Shirra expressed himself thus in his 
public prayers, — "Oh Lord, we desire to offer our 


grateful thanks unto Thee for the seasonable relief 
which Thou hast sent to the poor of this place from 
Thy inexhaustible storehouse in the great deep, and 
which every day we have called upon our streets 
— Fine fresh herrings, sax a penny, sax a penny ! 99 

One Sunday, owing to the sultry state of the 
weather, several of the congregation exhibited symp- 
toms of drowsiness. After a pa,use, sufficient to 
command attention, Mr. Shirra exclaimed, " Hold up 
your heads, my friends, and mind that neither saints 
nor sinners are sleeping in the other world." This 
had the effect of arousing the majority, but one 
member of the flock was so overpowered that he 
began to snore. Mr. Shirra again paused, and called 
out, " John Stewart, this is the second time that I've 
stopped to wauken you ; but I give you fair warning, 
that if I need to stop a third time, 111 expose you by 
name to the congregation ! " 

During the morning service the precentor had in- 
timated that the prayers of the congregation were 
requested on behalf of David Thomson, a member of 
the church. " Is David very ill, Henry ? " said Mr. 
Shirra, looking over the pulpit, to the precentor. 
Having obtained a reply that he was so, he said, 
"Weel, weel, let's pray for him." He then pro- 
ceeded to utter in prayer those words of the 132nd 
Psalm, — " Lord, remember David and all his afflic- 

Expounding the 116th Psalm, when he came to 
the eleventh verse, "I said in my haste, All men 


are liars," he quaintly remarked, " Ay, ay, David, you 
would not have required to make any apology for the 
speech had you lived in these days ; you might have 
now said it quite at your leisure." 

Quoting those words of the 119th Psalm, "I will 
run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou 
shalt enlarge my heart," Mr. Shirra proceeded, 
"Well, David, what is your first resolution? ' 1 
will run! Eun away, David, who hinders you? 
What is your next? f I will run the way of Thy 
commandments! Better run yet, David. What is 
your next ? ' I will run the way of Thy command- 
ments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart! No 
thanks to you, David; we could all run as well as 
you with such help." 

The reading by the precentor, or leader of psalmody, 
(hitherto it can scarcely be dignified by the name of 
music) is frequently far from being elegant. It was 
the custom for him to read the requests for the 
prayers of the congregation. In fishing villages at 
certain seasons a usual but very equivocal request 
ran thus : — " A man going to see (sea) his wife re- 
quests the prayers of the congregation." On one 
occasion a precentor, by a reversion of an ill- written 
billet astonished the congregation by reading, "A 
man requests the prayers of this congregation in 
great distress! 9 So necessary was this introduction 
to prayer, that in Glasgow for upwards of ten years 
in all churches on every Sabbath there was an- 
nounced, "Janet Shaw requests the prayers of the 


congregation." Janet was long bedridden, and thus 
formed a stock-piece for the precentor. 

A clergyman was preaching in a church where 
there was a choir who monopolized the psalmody. 
He listened patiently to a very complex piece of 
music ; when it was finished, he rose and solemnly 
said, " Now that the band have praised themselves, let 
the congregation unite with me in praising the Lord," 
and gave out the 100th Psalm, leading the tune him- 
self, in which the congregation heartily joined. 

A clergyman was accustomed to make use of scien- 
tific terms which his congregation did not under- 
stand. He was waited on by a deputation, and 
requested when he used any such terms in future he 
would be pleased to add an explanation. On the 
following Sunday he used the term hyperbole, when 
he added, " As agreed on, I now beg to give an apt 
illustration of this term. Were I to say that at this 
moment the whole of my congregation are sound 
asleep, this certainly would be an hyperbole ; but if I 
say that one-half are in this abject condition, this 
would be no hyperbole, but the truth." On the fol- 
lowing day the deputation returned and begged he 
would in future abstain from explanations of abstruse 
terms, which the congregation would endeavour there- 
after to obtain from a dictionary. 

A rural clergyman who had all his lifetime been a 
martyr to toothache, in lecturing on the narrative of 
the fall of man, argued that no more convincing proof 
could exist of the truth that man sinned and fell by 


eating the forbidden fruit than that the teeth from 
infancy to old age were above all the rest of the body 
the seat of painful disease. 

Dr. Eitchie, Professor of Divinity at Edinburgh, 
was formerly minister of Tarbolton, Ayrshire. In 
course of his ministrations he happened one Sunday 
to expatiate on the profanity of using oaths in con- 
versation. A resident landowner who was present 
was much addicted to the practice, and so conceived 
that the minister had prepared his discourse pur- 
posely to censure him. He sent for Dr. Eitchie to 
his residence, and accused him of referring to his 
private habits in the pulpit ; adding, that unless the 
doctor would promise to abstain from such a course, 
he would not again enter the parish church. Dr. 
Eitchie calmly replied, " If you took to yourself what 
I said against swearing, does not your conscience 
testify as to its truth ? You say you will not enter 
the church till I cease to reprove your sins ; if such 
is your resolution, you cannot enter it again, for 
which of the commandments have you not broken ? " 
The earnest firmness of the reply subdued the corn- 
plainer, who thereafter endeavoured to overcome the 
evil habit which he had acquired. 

Dr. Samuel Charters, minister of Wilton, was re- 
markable for a peculiar naiveU in administering 
reproof or repressing insolence. A boorish parish- 
ioner, who had conceived an aversion to him, and 
so left his church, told him that he had gone to a 
place of worship where he heard "the true gospel 


preached." " I am glad to hear/' said Dr. Charters, 
" that one of your stamp goes anywhere." 

A minister who was peculiarly dry in his delivery, 
and therefore little attractive to his congregation, one 
day was about to be fairly coughed down. At once 
he stopped, and said, " This position I think I can 
best illustrate by a beautiful story." The tumultuous 
cough instantly was hushed. After a pause, the 
minister proceeded, " I have no story to tell other 
than I was telling you, and merely wished to find 
out whether you had the power to stop coughing if 
you pleased, and now I see you have the power, I 
proceed with my discourse." 

A clergyman who was a hard labourer in his 
glebe, and when so occupied dressed in a very slo- 
venly manner, was one day engaged in his potato 
field, when he was surprised by the rapid approach 
of his patron in an open carriage, with some strange 
ladies, with all of whom he was to dine in the after- 
noon. Unable to escape in time, he drew his bonnet 
over his face, extended his arms covered with his 
tattered jacket, and passed himself off unnoticed as 
a potato bogle * 

There was a dinner-party at Douglas Castle, when 
Lord Douglas had invited Dr. M'Cubbin, his witty 
parish minister, to meet Lord Braxfield, the noted 
judge, and some other guests. Braxfield was disap- 
pointed to find that there was no claret, and asked 
his lordship whether he had got any in his cellar. 

* Scarecrow. 


" There is," said the peer, " but the butler tells me 
it is unsound." " Let's pree'd," said Braxfield. It 
was produced and was universally pronounced to be 
excellent. " I propose," said Braxfield to Dr. M'Cub- 
bin, " since a fama clamosa has gone forth against this 
wine, that you absolve it." " Your lordship is a good 
judge in civil law," replied the doctor, " but you are 
not so familiar, I remark, with the laws of the Church. 
We never absolve till after three several appearances." 
The claret of the noble host suffered accordingly. 

Mr. William Leslie, minister of St. Andrews, 
Lhanbryde, Morayshire, was addicted to practical 
jesting. An idle and useless creature in his parish 
having troubled him for a certificate to enable him 
to supply the loss of a horse and cow, Mr. Leslie 
wrote as follows: — "To all his Majesty's loving sub- 
jects who can feel for a fellow- sinner in distress. I 

beg to certify that the bearer, W. I , is the son of 

my old bellman, a man well known in this neigh- 
bourhood for his honest poverty and excessive sloth ; 
and the son has inherited a full share of the father's 
poverty, and a double portion of his indolence. I 
cannot say that the bearer has many active virtues 
to boast of; but he is not altogether unmindful of 
scriptural injunctions, having striven, and with no 
small success, to ' replenish the earth/ though he has 
done but little to subdue the same. It was his mis- 
fortune to lose his cow lately from too little care and 
too much bere chaff; and that walking skeleton 
which he calls his 'horse,' having ceased to 'hear 


the oppressor's voice or dread the tyrant's load' the 
poor man has now no means of repairing his loss 
but the skins of the defunct and the generosity of a 
benevolent public, whom he expects to be stimulated 
to greater liberality by this testimonial from, thine 
with respect, &c., Will. Leslie." 

Dr. Alexander Webster, of Edinburgh, was a 
person of remarkable merit and corresponding dis- 
tinction. From a design which he prepared the Xew 
Town of Edinburgh was laid out and built. He 
devised and established the Ministers' Widows' Fund. 
He procured the first enumeration of the inhabitants 
of the different parishes. He was leader of the evan- 
gelical party in the General Assembly, and was no 
inconsiderable poet. 

Dr. Webster was indebted for his entry into public 
life under favourable auspices to a prosperous mar- 
riage. The circumstances connected with the event 
are sufficiently interesting. He was originally one 
of the collegiate ministers of Culross. When dis- 
charging the duties of the pastorate in that parish, a 
young gentleman solicited him to intercede on his 
behalf with a young lady of the neighbourhood, of 
whom he had become enamoured, but who had per- 
tinaciously refused his addresses. This young lady 
was Miss Mary Erskine, daughter of Colonel Erskine 
of Alva, and a near relative of the Earl of Dundonald. 
Mr. Webster undertook to intercede for his friend, 
and on an early day called on the lady for that 
purpose. His eloquence was fruitless, Miss Erskine 



assuring him that her determination respecting the 
object of his mission was unalterable. She added, 
" Had you spoken as well for yourself, perhaps you 
might have succeeded better." The hint was not 
lost. Mr. Webster had acted honestly and pleaded 
strenuously on behalf of his friend ; and he felt him- 
self free, on his next interview with the lady, to speak 
in his own cause. Miss Erskine, as she had indicated, 
was " nothing loth " to his new proposals, and after- 
wards agreed, as her relatives would not yield their 
consent, that the marriage should be solemnized in 
private. Several songs were written on the occasion. 
One on the subject of his courtship, composed by the 
bridegroom himself, appeared in the Scots Magazine 
in November, 1747. These lines form the first 
stanza : — 

" 0 how could I venture to love one like thee ? 
And you not despise a poor conquest like me ! 
On lords thy admirers could look wi' disdain, 
And knew I was naething, yet pitied my pain. 
You said, while they teased you with nonsense and dress, 
$ "When real the passion the vanity's less ; ' 
You saw through that silence which others despise, 
And while beaux were a- talking read love in my eyes." 

Dr. Webster was a diligent student, but at the 
close of the day rejoiced to visit some of his more 
intimate ministerial friends, and if convenience suited 
to remain with them to supper. From these suppers 
he occasionally returned home somewhat late, con- 
siderably to the annoyance of his helpmate. He 
found that he was more readily excused when he 


had been in the society of his clerical brother, Dr. 
John Erskine, who was with Mr. Webster a decided 
favourite. But Dr. Erskine chanced to hear that he 
had been made a stalking-horse, and so resolved to 
have a practical joke at his friend's expense. When 
Dr. Webster next came to supper, Erskine made 
excuse that he had to go out, but insisted that his 
friend should remain and take supper with Mrs. 
Erskine. He proceeded direct to Dr. Webster's resi- 
dence, and making as it were an incidental evening 
call, was invited by Mrs. Webster to remain to 
supper. He accepted the invitation, but took leave 
of Mrs. Webster long before Dr. Webster's usual 
hour of returning from the supper-table. On return- 
ing to his house he found his friend quite at home, 
regaling himself over his toddy. When Dr. Webster 
at last reached his own dwelling he was, as usual, 
asked by his wife where he had been supping. " I 
have been down at Dr. Erskine's," was his reply. 
" Ah ! I have found you out at last," said the indig- 
nant gentlewoman ; " you were not at Dr. Erskine's ; 
and I believe you have never been any of these weary 
evenings at Dr. Erskine's. I'm a poor deceived 
woman ! The doctor was here, and took supper with 
me, but left at reasonable hours, as every person of 
proper conduct ought to do." Fearing that the storm 
which he had awakened might become serious, Dr. 
Erskine called at Dr. Webster's early next morning, 
and explained all. Mrs. Webster would only be 
reconciled on extracting from her husband the pro- 


mise, that on every occasion when he supped with 
Dr. Erskine, he would bring a certificate of the fact. 

Dr. Erskine was remarkable for his absence of 
mind. Meeting his wife in the Meadows, she stopped; 
he did so too. He bowed, hoped she was well, 
and again doing obeisance, walked on. When he 
returned home he informed Mrs. Erskine that he had 
met a lady in the Meadows, who seemed to know 
him, but that he could not make out who she was. 

A newly appointed clergyman, very critical in his 
phraseology, had a kirk officer not much learned in 
philology. One night on leaving the session-house 
or vestry, John asked the minister if he would (C put 
out the candle/' "Put out!" replied the minister; 
" never say "put out, but extinguish the candle/' 
" Then," added the man, " extinguish always stands 
for put out." " Always," said the minister. Next 
Sabbath, one of the dogs forming part of the con- 
gregation took umbrage at the length of the exhorta- 
tion, and began to yelp. John, rising from his official 
seat, astonished the congregation by the authoritative 
command, " Some one will be pleased to extinguish 
that dog!" 

The celebrated Mr. John Brown of Haddington 
had courted a young lady upwards of six years. At 
length he contrived to overcome his natural diffi- 
dence, and spoke to her confidentially. " Janet, my 
woman, we've been acquainted now for six years," 
said he, " an' — an' I've never got a kiss yet. D'ye 
think I may take one, my bonnie lass?" "Just as 


you like, John/' was the lady's answer; "only be 
becoming and proper wi't." " Surely, Janet," said 
Mr. Brown; "we'll ask a blessing." The blessing 
was asked and the kiss taken. " 0 woman, but it's 
gude," said the worthy minister; "we'll noo return 
thanks." In less than six months John and Janet 
were man and wife. 

One clergyman meeting another, the conversation 
turned on the feeding of swine — no small con- 
cern in the economy of the Scottish manse. The one 
startled the other with the apparently rude remark, 
" Speaking of swine, how is your wife ?" No insult 
was intended. The gentlewoman was widely famed 
for swine-culture. 



"The poet in a golden clime was born, 
With golden stars above ; 
Dower' d with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, 
The love of love." 


" The Poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven ; 
And as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 


According to Macpherson, the Ossianic poems were 
produced in the third century. There has been a 
controversy as to whether the son of Fingal was a 
Highlander or an Irishman. It is undeniable that 
there are traditions relating to Ossian in both 
countries, and that strains precisely similar to those 
which have been gleaned in the Gaelic Highlands 
have been recovered in those districts of Ireland 
where the Irish language is still spoken. The Irish 
confidently claim Ossian, or Oisin, as a native of 



Erin. They describe him as the son of Fionn, one 
of the Fenii, from whom the modern Fenians derive 
their name. But Scotland claims to have given him, 
as well as St. Patrick, a burial-place. In the centre of 
the " Sma' Glen," a stupendous pass of the Grampian 
Mountains, there is a huge stone of cubical form, 
designated Clach Ossian, or Ossian's Stone. It is 
believed to have formed the primitive memorial stone 
of the great Celtic bard. When General Wade was 
constructing in 1746 the Highland road which passes 
through the glen, his men ascertained that Ossian's 
Stone was resting on four large slab stones placed 
edgewise. On the removal of the formidable cover 
a chamber was discovered about two feet square, 
in which were contained the debris of bones and 
fragments of coins. The opening of the tomb caused 
the natives to assemble from vast distances. They 
took up the slabs, and the relics which they enclosed, 
and carried them in solemn procession to a seques- 
tered spot among the hills, where they reinterred 
them amidst the sound of martial music. The spot 
where the remains were discovered, indicated by the 
stone, has been celebrated by Wordsworth in these 
lines : — 

" In this still place, remote from men, 
Sleeps Ossian, in the Narrow Glen ; 
In this place, where murmurs on 
But one meek streamlet,* — only one. 

* The river Almond. 


Does then the bard sleep here indeed ? 
Or is it but a groundless creed ? 
What matters it ? I blame them not 
Whose fancy in this lonely spot 
Was moved, and in such way exprest 
Their notion of its perfect rest. 

• # * * 

It is not quiet, it is not ease ; 
But something deeper far than these. 
The separation that is here 
Is of the grave, and of austere 
Yet happy feelings of the dead ; 
And therefore was it rightly said 
That Ossian, last of all his race, 
Lies buried in this lonely place." 

The banks of the Carron, Stirlingshire, are cele- 
brated in the Ossianic poems. There, according to 
the bard, Fingal fought with Caracal, son of the King 
of the World, understood to be Caracalla, son of 
Severus, the Eoman emperor, who, in the year 211, 
headed an expedition against the Caledonians. The 
poem of Comala contains the following : — " Roll, 
streamy Carun, roll in joy, the sons of battle fled. 
The steed is not seen in our fields, and the wings of 
their pride spread in other lands. The sun will now 
rise in peace, and the shadows descend in joy. The 
voice of the chase will be heard, and the shield hang 
in the hall. Our delight will be in the war of the 
ocean, and our hands be red in the blood of Lochlin. 
Roll, streamy Carun, roll in joy, the sons of battle 
fled." The Irish regard these and similar strains as 


spurious, maintaining that they are not older than 
the eleventh or twelfth century. 

There is an anecdote in connection with the contro- 
versy respecting the authenticity of Ossian's poems 
which has never been recorded. The father of the 
writer received the story from his friend, George 
Dempster, of Dunnichen, the celebrated member of 
Parliament, who was intimately acquainted with 
Mr. Macpherson, the accomplished editor of Ossian. 
Shortly after the publication of Dr. Johnson's " Tour 
to the Hebrides," in which the authenticity of the Ossi- 
anic Poems was so forcibly impugned, the literary 
world in London was strongly impressed with the con- 
viction that the origin ascribed to the compositions was 
fabulous. The production of the original MSS. would 
alone satisfy doubters. The request was an unreason- 
able one, since the compositions had been recovered 
from tradition, and the Gaelic had only been a written 
language within a period comparatively recent. But 
it was deemed prudent, in order to preserve the popu- 
larity of the poems, that a little craft should be 
practised on southern sceptics. A landowner — one 
of the Macleods — in the Isle of Skye, gave the loan of 
old leases and other documents from his charter 
chest. These were deposited with Messrs. Cadell and 
Davies, the well-known publishers, and were exhibited 
at their shop for some months as the originals of 
Ossian ! 

The origin of Lowland minstrelsy is as unlikely 
to be determined as is the age of Ossian. There 


probably were songs and music in Lowland Scotland 
in ages prior to the period of written history. The 
spirit of the national lyre seems to have been 
evoked during the war of independence, and the 
ardour of the strain has not diminished since. 
Wyntoun has preserved a stanza lamenting the death 
of Alexander III. It is presented here in a modern- 
ized form : — 

" When Alexander our king was dead, 

That Scotland held in love and le,* 
Away went sons of ale and bread, 

Of wine and wax, of game and glee. 
Our gold was changed into lead : 

Christ, horn into virginity, 
Succour Scotland, and remeid 

That stands in such perplexity." 

Songs were sung by the populace in celebration of 
the doughty deeds of the brave Wallace. Some 
minstrel verses were composed in celebration of the 
victory at Bannockburn. 

The first Scottish poet, whose compositions have 
been preserved otherwise than in scraps and frag- 
ments, is James I. He was unquestionably the 
originator of Scottish music. The elder strains were 
mere rants, which disappeared on the introduction of 
proper melodies. James had acquired his musical 
tastes at the Court of England, where he was fourteen 
years detained in captivity. By his grandson, James 
III., the minstrel arts were considerably promoted. He 

* Warm regard. 


pensioned Henry the Minstrel, cherished the poet 
Dunbar, and personally composed verses. To the 
cultivation of music he imparted a decided impulse 
by pensioning at his court William Boger, or Eogers, 
an eminent English musician, who had visited Scot-' 
land in the train of the English ambassador. This 
person founded a school of music, which led to the 
scientific study of the art. He was afterwards 
knighted and constituted a member of the privy 
council, — distinctions which so enraged the nobility, 
that they caused him, with the other favourites of 
the monarch, to be ignominiously executed. The 
author of this work claims to be the representative 
of this ingenious but ill-fated musician. 

The popular ballads of "The Gaberlunzie Man" 
and " The Jollie Beggar " were composed by James V. 
Queen Mary loved music, and wrote verses in French ; 
and James VI. sought reputation as the writer of 
Latin poetry and of English psalms. Whatever were 
his defects as a sovereign, J ames VI. is entitled to 
approbation as a patron of the poets. The Earl of 
Stirling, Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden, and 
Sir Eobert Aytoun, were severally honoured with his 
protection. They were the first Scotsmen who com- 
posed in English verse. 

Among the various expedients to which James 
VI. had recourse for promoting the aggrandizement 
of his favourite, Sir William Alexander, afterwards 
Lord Stirling, was the privilege which he bestowed 
upon him of issuing base coins, denominated turners. 


This description of money, though of inferior value 
to the coin issued from the Koyal mint, was decreed 
to pass current ; but the decree was extremely un- 
popular. In 1632, Lord Stirling built a house on 
the Castle Hill of Stirling, and having inscribed upon 
it his family shield, with the motto, " Per mare, per 
terras," some one satirically parodied it with the 
words " Per metre, per turners." 

Sir William Drummond composed serious poetry, 
but he was essentially a humorist. His macaronic 
poem, " Polemo-Middinia, or the Battle of the Dung- 
hill," is the most amusing composition of the sort in 
the language. It is a severe satire on some of the 
author's contemporaries. Happening to be in Lon- 
don, he proceeded to a tavern where several of his 
brother poets were in the habit of convening. Before 
presenting himself, he peeped into the apartment to 
discover who were present. He was observed, and 
the party called on him to enter. He found assembled 
Sir William Alexander, Sir Eobert Kerr, Michael 
Drayton, and Ben Jonson. After an evening's enjoy- 
ment, the bards fell a-rhyming about the reckoning. 
They owned that all their verses were inferior to 
Drummond's, which ran thus : — 

" I, Bo-peep, 

See you four sheep, 
And each of you his fleece. 

The reckoning is five shilling ; 

If each of you be willing, 
It's fifteen pence apiece." 


In 1645, when the plague was raging in Scotland, 
Drummond happened to arrive at the town of Forfar. 
Consequent on the regulations of the corporation, he 
was as a stranger refused admission into the place. 
He proceeded to the neighbouring town of Kirriemuir, 
where he was kindly entertained. The incivility 
which he had experienced at Forfar determined him 
to resent the affront. Learning that a feud existed 
between the towns respecting the right to a portion 
of common styled Muir Moss, he despatched a letter 
to the Provost of Forfar, which the messenger re- 
quested might at once be communicated to the 
corporation. The Estates of Parliament were sitting 
at St. Andrews, and the Provost, conceiving that the 
letter had proceeded from that quarter, ordered the 
Town Council to meet in the town-house. The 
parish minister was sent for, that his advice might be 
available. The communication was opened with 
much ceremony by the chief magistrate, and handed 
to the town-clerk, who was requested to read it aloud. 
The writing proceeded as follows : — 

"The Kirriemarians and Forfarians met at Muir Moss, 
The Kirriemarians heat the Forfarians hack to the Cross. 
Sutors* ye are, and sutors ye' 11 he ; 
Fy upon Forfar, Kirriemuir hears the gree." 

The insult was bitterly felt by every member of 
the corporation, who resolved to make individual 
exertion for the detection of the perpetrator. 

* Shoemakers. The staple trade of Forfar was shoemaking. 


Sir Eobert Aytoun composed verses in several 
languages, but was not ambitious of fame as a poet. 
Many of bis English poems remained in manuscript, 
and were supposed to be lost till about twenty-five 
years ago, when they were incidentally discovered by 
the author of the present work. Aytoun was the 
writer of " Old Long Syne," which, modernized by 
Burns, has become a universal favourite. Sir Eobert 
Aytoun's satirical stanzas on a man dying for love 
are among his happiest efforts. The first stanza is 
charming : — 

" There is no worldly pleasure here below, 

Which by experience doth not folly prove ; 
But among all the follies that I know, 
The sweetest folly in the world is love." 

Sir Eobert was a cadet of the same family which 
produced Professor "William Edmonstoune Aytoun, 
whose poetical abilities as displayed in his " Scottish 
Cavaliers " and the " Bon Gualtier Ballads/' together 
with his personal amenities, have caused a universal 
feeling of regret for his premature decease. 

An anecdote of Professor Aytoun may not be unac- 
ceptable. Some years ago the writer met him at 
dinner at a fashionable watering-place. The guests 
were nearly all strangers to each other. Professor 
Aytoun was known only to a few. He took a leading 
part in the conversation, but chiefly directed his 
discourse to an elderly gentleman who had unad- 
visedly stated that he held the position of a county 


magistrate. The professor, conceiving that his new 
acquaintance valued himself on his magisterial status, 
seemed bent on obtaining a little harmless diversion 
at his expense. The robberies perpetrated by Italian 
brigands were then occupying public attention, and 
the county magistrate introduced the subject with the 
observation that the entire body of brigands should be 
exterminated. The professor took an opposite view, 
— considered that brigandage was not an unmitigated 
evil, and conceived that some of the brigand chiefs 
merited praise for their spirit of adventure. Besides, 
their system, he conceived, was a brave method of 
earning a livelihood. " Suppose," he proceeded, " you 
and I were to-morrow morning proceeding to the 
railway station with a brace of pistols in our vest 
pockets. What could be more easy than, by present- 
ing these to the heads of well-to-do looking people 
in first-class carriages, to earn a number of purses 
easily, and without the possibility of detection?" 
"You may attempt this," responded the astonished 
magistrate, " but, for my part, I shall have nothing to 
do with it whatever." The subject changed. The 
administration of the Poor Law became a theme of 
discussion. The justice of the peace related that 
when he was on the bench he decided the cases 
referred to in a particular manner. " When I am on 
the bench," said the professor, " I decide quite in the 
opposite way." "Then I would not give much for 
your law," said the justice. The matter dropped, and 
the company soon proceeded to the drawing-room. 


There, the writer having entered into conversation 
with Professor Aytoun, the county magistrate asked 
him aside, and inquired of him whether he knew 
the gentleman with whom he had been talking. 
He added, " I fear his principles are very lax." 
" Not at all, he is quite sound every way. He 
is the sheriff and vice-admiral of the Orkneys, 
a Doctor of the Civil Law, the Professor of Ehe- 
toric in the University of Edinburgh, an Advo- 
cate at the Scottish Bar, and a leading contri- 
butor to Blackwood's Magazine!' " Oh, I see ! Pro- 
fessor Aytoun, of course. What a facetious dog he 
is!" said the magistrate. "Pray introduce me to 

When Professor Aytoun was making proposals of 
marriage to his first wife, a daughter of the celebrated 
Professor Wilson, the lady reminded him that it 
would be necessary to ask the approval of her sire. 
"Certainly," said Aytoun; "but as I am a little 
diffident in speaking to him on this subject, you must 
just go and tell him my proposals yourself." The 
lady proceeded to the library, and taking her father 
affectionately by the hand, mentioned that Professor 
Aytoun had asked her to become his wife. She 
added, " Shall I accept his offer, papa ? He says he 
is too diffident to name the subject to you himself." 
" Then," said old Christopher, " I had better write my 
reply and pin it to your back." He did so, and the 
lady returned to the drawing-room. There the 
anxious suitor read the answer to his message, which 


was in these words, — "With the author's compli- 
ments !" 

Professor Wilson was one of the most eccentric of 
the Scottish poets. He was uncommonly athletic, 
and was often tempted to afford indication of his 
physical powers. Shortly after his appointment to 
the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh, he 
happened to be on a sporting excursion in the south 
of Scotland. He reached the border town of Hawick 
on a fair day. The people of this place were for- 
merly celebrated for their pugnacity. As Wilson 
passed through the market-place two combatants were 
dealing blows at each other. He saw that one was a 
practised pugilist, and was disposed to deal unfairly 
with his opponent. His love of fair play led him to 
interfere. He called on the habitual pugilist to act 
fairly, which immediately drew upon him the ire of 
the bully, who threatened him with assault. With 
a single blow the Professor laid him prostrate, and 
then quietly walked on. 

The Professor was in the course of a pedestrian 
tour in the Perthshire Highlands. A severe storm 
came on. Evening was drawing on, and there was 
no hotel or tavern near. The mansion of a surly old 
laird was not far off ; but the cottagers reported that 
he lived in a state of seclusion, and was the most 
inhospitable of mankind. Wilson resolved to make 
an attempt at obtaining shelter under his roof. He 
proceeded to the mansion, and knocked loudly. The 
laird was alarmed, and presented himself in the hall. 



" Who are you ? " stuttered the irate gentleman, sur- 
veying the stranger's unshaven countenance and mud- 
bespattered costume. "I am Professor Wilson, of 
Edinburgh," said the stranger. " Being overtaken by 
this terrible storm, I have " " You — you," inter- 
rupted the laird, "are nothing of the sort. An impostor, 
no doubt, looking after plunder. Get you gone." 
The Professor persevered, pouring forth eloquent 
sentences on the hospitality of Highland gentle- 
men. The laird, who was a reader of Blackwood's 
Magazine, was overpowered by the torrent of animated 
talk. " Come in, come in," he said ; " for certainly 
you are either Professor Wilson or the d — 1." The 
laird became delighted with his visitor. 

The Professor, when in his holiday rambles, dressed 
very plainly. The late Principal Haldane, of St. 
Andrews, was travelling inside a stage-coach from 
Perth to Dunkeld. The only other inside passenger 
was a lady of prepossessing appearance and elegant 
manners. When the coach drew up at Dunkeld 
Hotel, the Principal was astonished to observe that a 
rough-looking personage, an outside passenger of the 
coach, handed the lady from the carriage, and 
familiarly proceeded with her into the hotel. He 
remembered stories of young ladies eloping with 
their fathers' grooms, and an apprehension of such 
an occurrence happening now passed across his 
mind. He called the landlord and inquired about 
the lady who had been his fellow-passenger. " Oh," 
said the landlord, " she is Mrs. Wilson ; she has gone 



up-stairs with her husband, the Professor. May be 
ye ken him. He is sometimes called Christopher 
North." "Take my card to Mr. Wilson," said the 
Principal, quite relieved from his alarm. Principal 
Haldane was heartily welcomed by his fellow- 
travellers, and used to relate with much joviality his 
first impressions of the Edinburgh Professor of Ethics 
in his sporting jacket. 

The late Lord Eobertson, of Edinburgh, published 
two volumes of poems which did not sustain his 
reputation. Some time subsequent to the publication 
of his volumes, he met in company his old friend 
John Gibson Lockhart. " If you survive me, Lock- 
hart," said the poetical judge, " you must write my 
epitaph." "I'll do it now," said the reviewer; "it 
will run thus : — 

' Here lies a paper Lord, — 

The poet Peter ; 
Who broke the laws of God, 
Of man, and metre.' " 

Eobertson was eminently facetious. His wit pro- 
cured a happy retort on one occasion from Sir 
Walter Scott. Soon after the publication of " Peveril 
of the Peak," Sir Walter chanced to enter the Parlia- 
ment House, the promenade room of the Edinburgh 
Law Courts, when Eobertson, then an advocate, was 
amusing a number of his friends around the fireplace 
by the scintillations of his wit. As Scott came for- 
ward, Eobertson exclaimed, " Hush, boys ! here comes 



old Peveril — I see his peak I* There was a general 
laugh when Scott joined the circle. He asked his 
friend Lockhart to inform him as to the cause of the 
merriment. Lockhart related what had been said. 
Surveying Kobertson's protuberant form, Scott said 
quietly, "Ay, ay, my man, as weel Peveril o' the 
Peak ony day as Peter o' the Paunch." The laugh 
was turned. 

At a period considerably prior to his acknowledg- 
ing the authorship of the Waverley Novels, Scott was 
spending an afternoon with the Ettrick Shepherd at 
Altrive Lake. The Shepherd was not one of the 
select few who were entrusted with the secret of the 
authorship ; but he had never entertained a doubt as 
to the source whence these novels had proceeded. 
He had accordingly instructed his bookseller to 
enclose the Waverley series in a uniform style of 
binding, and to entitle each volume, " Scott's Novels." 
In examining the shelves of the Shepherd's library, 
Sir Walter's eye rested on the long line of hand- 
somely bound volumes, one of which he took down. 
M I see," said he to his host, " your binder spells Scots 
with two tt's." "In this case," said the Shepherd, 
"I believe he has spelt correctly." Sir Walter 
smiled. The story was related to the writer by Mrs. 
Hogg, the Shepherd's widow. 

When a youth of sixteen, Sir Walter Scott met 
Ptobert Burns. The great rustic bard had accom- 
panied Professor Dugald Stewart to a conversazione 
at the residence of Professor Ferguson. There being 


several strangers present, Burns did not join in the 
general conversation, but proceeded to examine the 
pictures in the room. His attention was arrested 
by a print of Bunbury's, representing a soldier lying 
dead on the snow, his dog sitting by his side, and 
on the other his widow, with a child in her arms. 
Under the print were inscribed several lines of verse, 
descriptive of the scene ; and Burns, who was melted 
to tears by the ideas suggested in the representation, 
inquired as to the authorship of the poetry. The 
philosophers were silent, or admitted their inability 
to make answer. Young Scott said, diffidently, 
" They're written by one Langhorne." On further 
inquiry, the pale-faced boy gave the name of the 
work from which the lines were quoted. He re- 
ceived in return a commendatory look from the 
bard of Coila, with these approving words, — " You'll 
be a man yet." This little speech, remarks a 
popular writer, constituted Scott's literary ordina- 

Sir Walter retained a vivid recollection of his 
interview with the Ayrshire poet. He was particu- 
larly struck with his large dark eye. He writes, * It 
literally glowed. I never saw such another eye in a 
human head, though I have seen the most distin- 
guished men in my time." The writer was informed 
by Mrs. Begg, the poet's sister, that the expression 
of her brother's eye, once seen, was never to be for- 
gotten. She added, " His entire countenance beamed 
with genius. So striking was his look, that a stranger 
passing him on the highway would, though ignorant 


who he was, have turned round to look at him a 
second time." 

Burns possessed the power of a crushing sarcasm, 
which he was not loth, on fitting occasion, to 
administer. He was standing on the quay at 
Greenock, when a prosperous merchant of the place 
happened to fall into the water. Being unable to 
swim, he had certainly perished had not a sailor at 
once plunged after him, and, at the risk of his own 
life, rescued him from his perilous situation. The 
merchant drew his purse, and gave the sailor a shil- 
ling. The bystanders protested as to the contemptible 
nature of the reward, when Burns, coming forward, 
entreated them to refrain. " Surely," said he, with 
a smile of scorn, " the gentleman is the best judge of 
the value of his own life." 

An English commercial traveller, named Turner, 
met Burns in the King's Arms Hotel, Dumfries. 
Understanding that his new acquaintance was a poet, 
he professed attachment to his fraternity, and offered 
to treat him with a bottle of wine. But his conver- 
sation was chiefly about himself and his own merits. 
As Burns rose to take leave, the traveller asked him 
for a specimen of his versifying. Procuring a slip of 
paper, the poet wrote the following stanza, which 
he handed to his friend, and at once retired : — 

** In seventeen hundred forty-nine, 
Satan took stuff to make a swine, 

And cast it in a corner : 
But wilily he changed his plan, 
And shaped it something like a man, 

And ca'd it Andrew Turner." 



Burns was dining with Mr. Miller, of Dalswinton. 
He was informed that one of the Lords of Justiciary 
had dined at Dalswinton the day before, and that, on 
entering the drawing-room, his lordship's vision being 
affected by his potations, he had pointed to one of 
his host's daughters, saying, "Wha's yon howlet- 
faced thing in the corner ? " Burns tore off the 
blank leaf of a letter, and inscribed upon it these 
lines, which he presented to Miss Miller: — 

" How daur ye ca' me howlet-faced, 
Ye ugly, glowering spectre ? 
My face was but the keekin' glass, 
And there ye saw your picture." 

In a company where Burns was present some one 
had characterized the adherents of the Solemn League 
and Covenant as ridiculous and fanatical. He wrote 
and handed these lines to the sneerer : — 

" The Solemn League and Covenant 

Cost Scotland blood — cost Scotland tears ; 
But it sealed Freedom's sacred cause : — 
If thou'rt a slave, indulge thy sneers." 

The following anecdote of the bard has not been 
recorded hitherto. It was obtained by the writer's 
father from a personal associate of the poet. Burns, 
at a public entertainment, was seated opposite a 
young foppish nobleman, who, to evince his contempt 
for one whom he regarded as a literary upstart, 
filliped some of his wine in the direction of the poet. 

We do it much better in our country," said the 



bard, as he raised his glass, and threw the entire 
contents in the face of the aggressor. 

It is an error to suppose that Burns was not gene- 
rally appreciated in his lifetime. He was eminently 
so. Before he had composed any of those exquisite 
songs which he contributed to Johnson's " Musical 
Museum," and Thomson's "Collection," he was hailed 
as a prodigy. He visited Edinburgh direct from the 
plough, and was received with honours and hospi- 
talities by the leading persons of that lettered 
capital. His subsequent provincial tour was a con- 
tinued ovation. When he was passing the second 
edition of his poems through Mr. Smellie's press at 
Edinburgh, the stool on which he usually sat while 
correcting his proof-sheets he found one day occu- 
pied. He looked annoyed, and the foreman, per- 
ceiving the cause, asked him to step a moment into 
the composing-room. Sir John Dalrymple, who was 
seated on the stool, was now asked to resign it for a 
chair, which was handed to him. " What !" said Sir 
John, "do you suppose I'll resign my seat to yon 
impudent, staring fellow ?" * That is Bobert Burns," 
said the foreman. "Bobert Burns!" responded Sir 
John, at once dismounting from the stool ; " that 
quite alters the case. Give him all the seats in the 

Owing to his occasional excesses, Burns latterly 
forfeited the friendship of some who, at a former 
period, were proud to cherish his society. When 
keenly suffering from the loss of certain friendships, 


he began to apprehend, as Byron did afterwards, that 
his poetical fame was about to suffer an eclipse. On 
such occasions he would say to his wife, "Jean, 
they'll ken me better a hunder years after I'm gane 
than they do now." This anecdote is related by 
Colonel William Mcol Burns, the poet's surviving 

Though abundantly conscious of his powers, Burns 
was free from the vanity so common to untravelled 
bards. His sister, Mrs. Begg, related to the writer 
that he was most attentive to the domestic duties, 
and entirely unobtrusive with his verses at the 
family circle. By his eldest son, Eobert, who had a 
distinct remembrance of his father, the writer was 
informed that he encouraged his children to read 
poetry, but never presented to them his own. " My 
father died," said Eobert, " when I was about ten 
years old ; and though I had already read the com- 
positions of the best English poets, I did not know 
that my father had written verses till considerably 
after the period of his death." 

To the relics of Burns an extraordinary interest 
has attached. They have been dispersed over the 
habitable globe. Not a few of them have been made 
the subjects of special bequests. On this subject 
Mr. Bennoch, of London, relates, in the " Year-book," 
an interesting anecdote. Bacon, the host of the 
posting inn at Brownhill, twelve miles north of 
Dumfries, was an associate of the poet. From the 
bard he had received a snuff-box, — a horn neatly 


turned at the point, and mounted with silver. The 
landlord carried it to his dying day, out of respect 
for the ingenious donor. He died in 1825, when his 
effects were exposed to sale. The snuff-box was 
put up, and was being knocked down for a shilling, 
when the auctioneer, happening to look on the lid, 
discovered the inscription, which he read aloud, — 
"Kobert Burns, officer of the excise." The words 
had just been pronounced, when rapid bidding fol- 
lowed, till the box was ultimately disposed of for 
five pounds. The writer was shown by his friend, 
Mr. Joseph Mayer, of Liverpool (whose collection of 
Burns's relics is unrivalled), a plain round "mull," 
inscribed with the poet's initials, for which an offer 
of five pounds had been declined. 

A blacksmith at St. Ninians, Stirlingshire, is pos- 
sessed of a sword-cane, which was gifted by the bard 
to a brother exciseman. For this relic the black- 
smith has refused a tender of twenty pounds. 

At the period of the Centenary celebration, the late 
Dr. Gillies, Eoman Catholic Bishop of Edinburgh, 
presented to the Society of Scottish Antiquaries a 
pair of pistols which were said to have been used by 
the poet. A public notification of the event was fol- 
lowed by a statement in the Illustrated London News 
to the effect that the relics presented by the bishop 
were not genuine, the poet's pistols having been 
acquired by Allan Cunningham, and retained by his 
representatives. This announcement was acutely felt 
by Dr. Gillies, who determined to establish the genu- 



ineness of his gift. A thorough examination of the 
subject led to an unexpected result. It was proved 
that the pistols possessed by Allan Cunningham's 
representatives and those which the Catholic bishop 
had presented to the Antiquaries, had not belonged 
to the Scottish bard ! But the genuine pistols turned 
up, and being acquired by Bishop Gillies, were by 
him deposited in the Antiquarian Museum. 

A relic of the Ayrshire bard, of curious interest, 
may be mentioned. A son of the late Mr. James 
Gracie, banker, Dumfries, who was a kind benefac- 
tor of the bard, possesses a volume of Dr. Blair's 
Sermons, presented to Burns by the author. It 
contains numerous pencil-markings by the poet. 
Some years ago the writer examined this volume. 
A sermon on calumny was in many parts marked 
with approving sentences, as were passages in other 
discourses, referring to the ingratitude of the world, 
and the uncertainty of human friendship. The poet, 
it is easy to perceive, had been smarting under the 
sting of wounded pride and the desertions of friends. 

Another interesting relic may be named. After 
composing his celebrated ode of " Bruce's Address to 
his Army at Bannockburn," he addressed a copy to 
his friend, Mr. Miller of Dalswinton. That copy, 
along with the poet's letter which accompanied it, 
was presented by a son of Mr. Miller to the late 
Mr. Wallace, of Kelly, as head of the Wallace 

On the death of Mr. Wallace, the document 


descended to his younger brother, the writer's 
late friend, Lieutenant- General Sir James Maxwell 
Wallace, who indicated his intention to bequeath it 
for preservation in the National Wallace Monument, 
so soon as that structure was completed. 

In certain modern editions of his works, that 
eminently beautiful lyric, " The Land o' the Leal," 
has been ascribed to Burns. Several of his recent 
biographers allege that it was composed by him on 
his death-bed, and addressed to his wife. This is an 
error. The lyric was written by Carolina, Baron- 
ess Nairn, author of " The Lays of Strathearn." She 
wrote it for two married relatives of her own who 
had sustained bereavement in the death of a child. 
The original MS. has been in the hands of the writer. 
The correct version begins, " I'm wearin' awa', John," 
not " Jean." 

Lady Nairn composed many other popular songs. 
In this respect she ranks next to Burns. From her 
pen proceeded such well-known compositions as 
" Will ye gang ower the lea-rig ?" u Kind Eobin loes 
me," " Oh weel's me on my ain Man," " Saw ye nae 
my Peggy?" "There's Cauld Kail in Aberdeen " "He's 
ower the hills that I loe weel," " The Lass o' Gowrie," 
" He's a terrible man, John Tod," * Bonnie Charlie's 
now awa'," " The Hundred Pipers," " Caller Herein'," 
and " The Laird o' Cockpen." Several of these are 
attributed to Burns, and have been latterly included 
in his works. But Lady Nairn's MSS. prove her 



The song " Caller Herrin , " was a favourite of John 
Wilson, the eminent vocalist. " The Laird o' Cock- 
pen " was composed at the beginning qf the century. 
The last two stanzas were added by Miss Terrier. 

When the late distinguished Marquis of Dalhousie, 
who owned Cockpen estate, was a rejected candidate 
for the representation of Edinburgh, he amused 
both his friends and opponents by quoting, in a 
hustings speech, a line of Lady Nairn's song. "I 
may only remark of Edinburgh/' said his lordship, 
" that— 

* She's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen.' " 

This song was founded on an older composition, 
beginning, " When she came ben she bobbit." That 
ditty was composed in the reign of Charles II. The 
Laird of Cockpen, hero of the piece, was an associate 
and military follower of the king. He was engaged 
on his side at the battle of Worcester, and afterwards 
accompanied the monarch to Holland, where he 
formed one of his little court. The laird excelled as 
a musician, and greatly delighted the king by his 
skilful playing. For the tune " Brose and Butter " 
Charles conceived a particular favour, and his com- 
panion gratified his royal wish in lulling him asleep 
at night, and awakening him in the morning, by 
playing that enchanting air. 

At the Eestoration, Cockpen found that his estate 
had been confiscated, and he had the mortification to 
discover that he had suffered on behalf of an un- 



grateful prince, who gave no response to his many- 
entreaties for the restoration of his possessions. 
Visiting London, he was denied an audience, but he 
still entertained a hope that, by a personal conference 
with the king, he might gain his object. To accom- 
plish this design he had recourse to artifice. He 
formed the acquaintance of the organist in the 
Chapel Eoyal, and obtained permission to officiate as 
his substitute when the king came to service. He 
did so with becoming propriety till the close of the 
service, when, instead of the solemn departing air, 
he struck up the king's old favourite "Brose and 
Butter." The scheme succeeded in the manner 
intended. The king, proceeding hastily to the 
organ gallery, discovered Cockpen, whom he saluted 
familiarly, declaring he had " almost made him 
dance." " I could dance too," said Cockpen, " if I 
had my lands again." The request to which every 
entreaty, on the score of humanity and justice, 
could not gain a response, was granted by the power 
of music. Cockpen was restored to his inherit- 

Lady Nairn was descended from the old Jacobite 
house of Oliphant, of Gask. Her father, Laurence 
Oliphant, of Gask, christened her Carolina in honour 
of Charles Edward; his father had attended the 
prince as aide-de-camp during his disastrous cam- 
paign of 1745-6, and his mother had indicated her 
deep sympathy in his cause by begging a lock of his 
hair on his accepting the family hospitalities. Lady 


Nairn has celebrated this incident in her beautiful 
song of " The Auld House." She sings, — 

" The leddy, too, sae genty 

There sheltered Scotland's heir, 
An' clipt a lock wi' her ain hand 
Frae his lang yellow hair." 

Lady Nairn's father would never permit the toast 
of the reigning family to be drunk in his presence. 
When he was old, and impaired eyesight compelled 
him to seek the assistance of his family in reading 
the newspapers, he would have angrily reproved the 
reader if " the German lairdie and his leddy " were 
designated otherwise than as " K. and Q." 

Some one related to George the Third that there 
was a person in his dominions who would not 
drink to his Majesty's health, referring to the pecu- 
liarity of Mr. Oliphant, of Gask. " I respect that 
man," said the king. 

Baroness Nairn was enthusiastic in her admiration 
of the genius of Burns, and began to compose verses 
to the older Scottish melodies on remarking the 
success of the Ayrshire bard in remodelling the 
elder ditties. She published all her compositions 
anonymously, or under the nom de plume of " Mrs. 
Bogan," and her identity was only made known 
after her decease. 

The diffidence evinced by Lady Nairn on the sub- 
ject of authorship was shared by two contemporary 
poetesses. Lady Anne Barnard, nge Lindsay, eldest 


daughter of James, Earl of Balcarras, composed 
many precious lyrics, but she so dreaded publicity 
that she could never persuade herself to make 
them public. There was a single exception. The 
ballad of "Auld Eobin Gray," composed in her 
twenty-first year, was printed by a member of her 
family, and speedily attained popularity. The hero 
of the ballad was the old herdman of Balcarras. 

So great an interest was excited by the question as 
to the authorship of "Auld Eobin Gray," which 
remained undetermined upwards of half a century, 
that the Society of Scottish Antiquaries made it a 
subject of investigation. The author was advertised 
for in the newspapers, a reward being offered for 
such information as might lead to his discovery. At 
length, in her seventy-third year, Lady Nairn re- 
vealed her secret to Sir Walter Scott, who printed an 
original copy of the ballad as his contribution to the 
Bannatyne Club. 

Mrs. Agnes Lyon, like the preceding, is known 
only as the writer of a single composition. She 
composed the words of "Neil Gow's Farewell to 
Whisky." The MS. of the song, in Mrs. Lyon's 
handwriting, and attested as her composition, is now 
in the possession of a relative of the writer. Mrs. 
Lyon composed many poems and songs, which are 
still in MS. She has specified in her MS. book that 
the compositions are to be published only when the 
family funds are short. 

It is well known that Burns was an enthusiastic 


admirer of the poet Eobert Fergusson, to whom he 
erected a tombstone in the Canongate Churchyard, 
Edinburgh. Fergusson is now almost forgotten, 
being eclipsed by the superior powers of the Ayr- 
shire bard. As a true Scottish poet he is entitled 
to commemoration. He was singularly impulsive, 
and ultimately became a victim to mental disease. 
When a youth, he was residing with a maternal 
uncle, in the vicinity of Aberdeen. This gentleman 
was factor to a nobleman, and being a kind-hearted 
man, desired to introduce him to his noble consti- 
tuent, who happened to be dining with him one day. 
Instead of appearing in a manner befitting the occa- 
sion, the juvenile poet entered the room in a state of 
deshabille, his clothes being torn from the effects of a 
ramble in the neighbouring plantation. Mortified by 
the youth's indifference, his uncle expressed himself 
indignantly. Fergusson proudly walked off. Hear- 
ing that he had left the premises, his uncle de- 
spatched after him a messenger on horseback. He 
was overtaken, but he doggedly refused to return. 
He walked to Edinburgh, a distance of two hundred 
miles, subsisting by the way as he best could. 

He studied at the United College, St. Andrews. 
Here his poetical abilities recommended him to 
several of the professors, and preserved him from 
the effects of his occasional indiscretions. The father 
of the writer occupied the same rooms in the college 
which had been tenanted by Fergusson about fifteen 
years previously. He found the walls covered with 



rhymes, generally of a satirical order, both at the 
expense of the professors and certain of his less 
brilliant contemporaries. Two of the latter had been 
employed in agricultural operations before aspiring 
to academic honours. He inscribed one morning 
with red chalk, on the staircase conducting to their 
apartments, the couplet, — 

" Poet Cobb and William Moodie 
Left the plough and came to study.' ' 

He thus completed the verse in the evening : — 

" William Moodie and poet Cobb 
Never tried a worse job." 

On one occasion the professors were made heavily 
to feel the bitter irony and reckless sarcasm of their 
poetical alumnus. The bursars, or students residing 
within the college, and entitled to be maintained by 
the institution, dined together daily in the common 
hall. The fare was mean, consisting generally of 
rabbits, from a warren in the neighbourhood. The 
bursars had often grumbled, but as a professor pre- 
sided at table, none ventured openly to complain. 
Each bursar asked the blessing by turns. It was 
Fergusson's turn. He rose up reverently, and 
repeated the following : — 

" For rabbits young and for rabbits old, 
For rabbits hot and for rabbits cold, 
For rabbits tender and for rabbits tough, 
Our thanks we render, for we've bad enough." 


The presiding professor reported, as nearly as he 
could remember, the words of " the grace " to his 
colleagues, and a meeting of the Senatus Academicus 
was convened. It was ascertained that extensive 
dissatisfaction prevailed, and that Fergusson was the 
spokesman of many. His punishment might there- 
fore have been attended with general insubordination. 
It was resolved to overlook the offence, and to pro- 
vide a greater variety of food. 

When Allan Eamsay commenced business in 
Edinburgh, he experienced the difficulties which 
usually attend the first step on the ladder of life. 
He was unable to meet his first half-years rent. 
Some time after the rent had become due he chanced 
to meet his landlord, a country farmer, who was 
attending the Hallow Fair. The farmer hailed him 
to a neighbouring tavern. "When they sat down, 
Allan referred to the subject of the rent, and ex- 
pressed his distress of mind that he was unable to 
satisfy it. The farmer told him not to vex himself 
about the matter; he saw he was a lad of some 
genius, and would give him time. " Indeed," pro- 
ceeded the farmer, " if you'll give me a rhyming 
answer to four questions in as many minutes, I'll 
quit you the rent altogether." Allan said he would 
try. The questions put were these : — " What does 
God love ? What does the devil love ? What does 
the world love? "What do I love?" Within the 
specified time Eamsay produced the following 
verse : — 



" God loves man when he refrains from sin ; 
The devil loves man when he persists therein ; 
The world loves man when riches on him flow, 
And you'd love me could I pay what I owe." 

" The rent is paid," said the farmer, giving his 
young tenant a hearty slap across the shoulders, 
in token of high approval. 

The distinguished author of " The Pleasures of 
Hope " was prone to some of the eccentricities which 
characterize men of genius. The late Professor Pil- 
lans, of Edinburgh, used to relate the following narra- 
tive concerning his early friend. When a student at 
Edinburgh University, Pillans happened to meet 
Thomas Campbell, who was then prosecuting his 
studies at the University at Glasgow. The youths 
became at once fast friends. Pillans invited his 
Glasgow friend to visit him in his father's house at 
Edinburgh, at the close of the session. The young 
poet accepted the invitation, but he proved a most un- 
social visitor. Nothing could arouse him from a medi- 
tative mood ; he seemed to have fallen into a condi- 
tion of entire dejection — a sort of mental depression 
which could not be overcome. Mr. Pillans's father, 
an intelligent master printer, remonstrated with his 
son for bringing such " a w r oe-begone " person to the 
house. " I should not be surprised," he said, " though 
he would put an end to himself before morning." 
The future professor had likewise his misgivings as 
to his friend's sanity. But Campbell was then deep 
in the composition of "The Pleasures of Hope," 



which, on its appearance, at once established his 
claim to the highest poetical honours. 

Campbell was singularly impulsive, and, as Dryden 
describes fortune, always in extremes. Attending 
the coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster 
Abbey, he was moved to tears by the manner, so 
dignified and admirably self-possessed, in which her 
Majesty comported herself during the ceremonial. 
Eeturning home, he resolved to give expression to 
his sentiments by begging her Majesty's accept- 
ance of a complete set of his works. He got his 
volumes bound in an appropriate style, and per- 
sonally placed them in the hands of her Majesty's 
private secretary. He was informed by the secre- 
tary that the Queen was unwilling to receive gifts, 
since these placed her under obligations which she 
desired to avoid. The poet responded that there was 
nothing in her Majesty's dominions which he coveted, 
and that he simply claimed the privilege of ren- 
dering, as a subject, his devotion to his Sovereign. 
The secretary promised to place the volumes and his 
statement before the Queen. Next day a parcel 
from the palace was received at the poet's residence. 
He hesitated to open it. When he did he found his 
volumes returned, accompanied by a note. The 
Queen had graciously accepted the gift, but desired 
the author's autograph upon them. Campbell im- 
mediately complied w r ith the royal wish, and in two 
days received another parcel from the palace, which 
contained an elegant engraving of her Majesty's 



portrait, inscribed with the royal autograph. The 
poet delighted to relate the anecdote and exhibit the 

Campbell was walking down Regent Street, in 
company with the poet Southey. A poor woman 
with a child in her arms, and another half-clad little 
creature by her side, came up and solicited relief. 
Southey found he had no money, and Campbell, to 
whom such an appeal was at all times irresistible, had 
no smaller coin than a sovereign. He hastened into 
a mercer's shop, and presenting the sovereign, asked 
abruptly for change. The shopman was attending to 
a customer, but Campbell, unmindful of the fact in 
his desire to relieve the poor woman, insisted on his 
demand being complied with at once. His excited 
manner so alarmed the master of the shop, that after 
some words of an angry kind on both sides, he 
leaped over his counter and seized the poet by the 
collar. " You have come, both of you," said the irate 
mercer, " to make a disturbance for a dishonest pur- 
pose, and both of you shall go out at once." Camp- 
bell roared out, "Thrash the fellow! thrash him!" 
"You will not go out, then?" said the mercer. 
"Never till you apologize," said the poet. "Go, 
John, to Vine Street, and fetch the police," said the 
mercer to his assistant. Two policemen appeared 
forthwith, these at once placing themselves in omi- 
nous juxtaposition to the two poets. Campbell was 
unable to articulate from indignation. The Poet 
Laureate calmly explained the state of the case, 


adding, "This is Mr. Thomas Campbell, the dis- 
tinguished poet, a man who would not hurt a fly, 
much less act with dishonesty." " Gudeness, man," 
said one of the policemen, starting back, "is this 
Maister Cammell, the Lord Eector o' Glasgow ? " 
" Yes, he is ; there is Mr. Campbell's card," said 
Southey. The mercer was appeased at once. " Had 
I known the gentleman," said he, M I would have 
changed fifty sovereigns for him." " My dear fellow," 
said Campbell, " I am not at all offended." And 
they shook hands, and parted excellent friends. 

The poet's whimsical impulsiveness got him, on 
another occasion, into a kind of scrape. He was 
remarkable for his love of beautiful children. Ac- 
cording to Mr. Jerdan, he was one day struck by the 
beauty of a child which he had seen in St. James's 
Park. To discover the abode of the young beauty, 
he put an advertisement in the newspapers. He had 
related what he had done to some persons, who could 
not resist the opportunity of indulging a joke at 
his expense. They answered the appeal, giving an 
address in Sloane Street. Next morning Campbell 
presented his card at the house, and was shown into 
the drawing-room. A middle-aged lady appeared, 
when the visitor proceeded to state that his errand 
was to see her lovely offspring. The lady made no 
reply, but rung the bell violently, and requested that 
the stranger might be conducted out. The poet had 
been sent to the house of a spinster ! 

At an argument, Campbell was apt to betray an 


embarrassing keenness of speech. Dr. John Leyden, 
the eminent poet and Orientalist, was afflicted with 
similar impatience. The bards had quarrelled, but 
they remained, amidst their disputes, warm ad- 
mirers of each other's genius. Sir Walter Scott re- 
lates how he repeated " Hohenlinden " to Leyden, 
who immediately said, in his own peculiar style, 
"Dash it, man, tell the fellow that I hate him; 
but dash him, he has written the finest verses that 
have been published these fifty years." Scott com- 
municated this singular message, and received from 
the bard of Hope the reply, " Tell Leyden that I 
detest him, but I know the value of his critical 

Eepartee was not Campbell's forte ; he occasionally 
succeeded. A poet, who had fancied his deserts over- 
looked, remarked to him one day, " I blush for the 
ignorance of the public ; they have no taste — no per- 
ception of merit." "Ay," said the poet of Hope, 
" merit like yours, my friend, was born to blush 
unseen." He was fairly overcome at this species of 
banter by Turner, the celebrated painter. Meeting- 
Turner at dinner one day, Campbell, with a view to 
his complimenting his brother artist, was asked to 
propose a toast. "I'll give you the painters and 
glaziers," said Campbell. There was the expected 
laugh ; but Turner's turn came. He looked signifi- 
cantly at the bard of Hope, and proposed "The 

Dr. Leyden was as impulsive as his poetical adver- 


sary. He could not be deterred from carrying out 
any resolution lie had formed. His studies being 
at one period of a highly miscellaneous character, 
some one remonstrated with him on the circum- 
stance. He replied, using his usual interjection, 
" Dash it, man, never mind ; if you have the scaffold- 
ing ready, you can run up the masonry when you 
please." On board an Indian vessel he was boasting 
of his agility, when two gentlemen betted twenty 
gold mohrs that he could not go aloft. Leyden at 
once took to the shrouds and speedily reached the 
maintop. It was intended to inflict upon him the 
practical joke of tying him up till he should consent 
to pay a price for his liberty. Perceiving their in- 
tention, he seized a rope, and swung himself down — 
though at the cost of removing the skin from both 
his hands. He threw into the sea the order for the 
money which he had won. 

On the eve of his departure for India, Leyden bid 
adieu to his friends at Edinburgh, with the intention 
of paying a farewell visit to his parents in Roxburgh- 
shire en route for London. A sudden impulse induced 
him to return to the Scottish capital, after he had 
proceeded some miles on his journey. He arrived in 
the city late of an evening, and proceeded at once to 
the residence of a friend, who chanced to be enter- 
taining a party who had been toasting his health, and 
in kindly speeches regretting his departure. Sudden 
as an apparition, Leyden burst into the room with 
his familiar " Dash it, boys, I am here again." 


James Hogg possessed the power of conjuring up 
ghosts, hobgoblins, and other frightful phantasma- 
goria, so as not only to exercise a spell over his 
auditors, but to haunt his own mind with viewless 
horrors. At the " Gordon Arms " inn, in the vicinity 
of his own residence of Altrive, he was one evening 
discoursing to willing listeners of phantoms and 
apparitions associated with a tale of terror. The 
riveted attention of the party induced him to call 
forth his utmost energies in depicting the frightful 
supernatural of his story, when a screeching female 
voice called into the room, " Maister Hougg, there's 
ane wantin' ye." " Preserve us, lassie ! wha can want 
me at this time o' nicht ? " exclaimed the bewildered 
poet, who started up, horror-stricken by the terrors of 
his own story. 

During his visit to London a few years before his 
death, Hogg was feted with hospitalities. At an 
entertainment given by Macleod of Macleod, he 
responded to an invitation to sing by chanting one of 
his Jacobite songs. When he had finished, some 
one remarked to him, jestingly, that he had surely 
forgotten that the Duke of Argyle was present. 
" Oh, your Grace!" exclaimed the shepherd, "never 
mind, I'll give you another." And he proceeded to 
sing " Donald Macgillivray," much to the amusement 
of the company. 

Allan Cunningham, like the author of " The Plea- 
sures of Hope," resided chiefly in the metropolis. 
His entrde to the literary world was somewhat after 


the manner of Chatterton. When a stonemason in 
Dumfriesshire, he had been introduced to Cromek, a 
London engraver, who was then collecting materials 
for his "Beliques of Eobert Burns." Cunningham 
produced to Cromek some specimens of ballads 
apparently of an ancient origin, and so determined 
the enthusiastic engraver to publish another work, 
entitled " The Eemains of Mthsdale and Galloway 
Song." The better portion of these Eemains were 
composed by Allan himself. Cromek invited him to 
London, and entertained him at his residence. 
Trusting to his generosity, Cunningham at length 
revealed to his Mecaenas his real connection with the 
collected poetry. Cromek, who was a man of narrow 
views, could not endure the idea of having been de- 
ceived. He indignantly threw off his protege, who 
was obliged to resume his trade as a stonemason. 
But fortune attended him, and he soon obtained in 
Chantrey's studio a position worthy of his artistic 
skill and literary accomplishments. 

Leyden and Hogg both practised on Sir Walter 
Scott the same species of imposture which Cromek 
suffered at the hands of Allan Cunningham. But 
Scott was gratified, rather than indignant, when, on 
the confession of the delinquents, he found that the 
spirit of the older ballad-writers had been trans- 
mitted to their descendants. 

The Eev. James Grahame, author of * The Sabbath," 
occupied much of his time in verse-making, to the 
vexation of his excellent wife, who conceived that he 



was more likely to excel as a writer of prose and 
in other pursuits. From Mrs. Grahame lie carefully 
concealed that he was composing a poem on the 
Sabbath. "When the poem appeared in a handsome 
volume, he placed a copy on the drawing-room table, 
remarking to Mrs. Grahame that it was the latest 
poetical work which had been published. She pro- 
ceeded to read a portion, and at length exclaimed, 
" Ah, J ames, if you could but produce a poem like 
this ! " With feelings which may be imagined, Mr. 
Grahame proceeded to reveal the authorship. 

The short-lived but most ingenious brothers, 
Alexander and John Bethune, the peasant poets, 
possessed, in the earlier portion of their career, a 
remarkable degree of diffidence. They were most 
careful in concealing from their neighbours their 
turn for verse-making. On the entrance of any 
stranger into their cottage, they hid their MSS., 
and removed all traces of literary occupation. This 
continued until the appearance of several of their 
volumes led to their being publicly recognized as 
men of letters. 

A strong consciousness of power would seem 
to have been a characteristic of those Scottish bards 
whose genius early attained maturity. Eobert Fer- 
gusson was painfully conscious of his poetical powers; 
the conviction was a burden to him, and ultimately 
upset his mind. On the approach of dissolution, 
Michael Bruce cherished the resignation of the 
Christian, but felt deeply that the extinction of 



" life's taper " would blunt his hope of the poetic 
wreath. Pollok was eminently pious, and gently 
resigned his harp. He died conscious of great 
powers; in his own words, he — 

" Heard from far the voice of fame, — 
Heard and was charmed/' 

Burns, we have seen, felt, amidst the unkindness 
of inconstant friendship, that his genius would, sun- 
like, rise above every obscuring cloud, and gain im- 
mortality. David Gray, the short-lived author of 
" The Luggie," wrote to his friend, Sydney Dobell, 
u I tell you that if I live, my name and fame shall be 
second to few of any age, and to none of my own. 
I speak thus because I feel power." When he had 
entered on the duties of his public office in Edinburgh, 
the late amiable Alexander Smith said to the writer, 
" If I live, I know that I shall make the name of 
Alexander Smith known from one end of the world 
to the other." He died at the age of thirty- seven, 
but fulfilled his prediction. 

As a remarkable offset to these examples of a just 
self-consciousness of genius, it is sufficiently remark- 
able that several persons of transcendent literary and 
philosophic powers have entirely misapprehended 
where their strength lay. Hugh Miller published a 
volume of poems before he became known as a classic 
prose writer and an accomplished geologist. He was 
indifferent to reputation in the departments in which 
he excelled, but was covetous of fame as a poet, 


which his verses did not justify. Dr. Thomas Brown, 
the celebrated metaphysician, published a number of 
poetical volumes, all of which were still-born. The 
result was mortifying to him, for he would willingly 
have renounced his fame as a philosopher to have 
gained the credit of composing one popular poem. 
Lord Robertson has been named as the author of 
two volumes of poems. For a niche in the poetic 
temple, this highly accomplished person would have 
sacrificed his literary, judicial, and other honours ; 
but his poetical efforts were universally condemned. 
Dr. William Tennant made many attempts to excel 
his first effort in " Anster Fair." He believed he had 
often succeeded, but the public decided otherwise. 
Apart from * Anster Fair," his numerous poetical 
volumes scarcely obtained a purchaser. The late 
Professor Aytoun informed the writer, before the ap- 
pearance of Ms H Bothwell," that he would be content 
that his fame should rest upon it. It proved his only 
unsuccessful composition. 

A venerated Scottish clergyman, some years de- 
ceased, who enjoyed a high reputation as a theo- 
logical scholar and an eloquent preacher, was subject 
to periodical attacks of erysipelas, which affected his 
brain. During these attacks he abandoned his usual 
studies, and busily composed verses, which he took 
delight in reading to his family and visitors. So soon 
as he recovered from the attack, he committed his 
verses to the flames. 

The remarkable success of Robert Burns in ob- 



taming an early recognition of his genius led some 
of his poetical successors to expect that their own 
compositions would be similarly hailed. Eobert 
Tannahill, in a fit of despondency on account of the 
supposed indifference to his songs, destroyed his 
manuscripts and committed suicide. Eobert Allan, 
the author of " There's nae Covenant noo," and many 
other beautiful songs, left Scotland for America in 
his sixty-seventh year, disgusted with his native 
country for overlooking his merits as a poet. 
Elliot Aitchison, the Hawick bard, a person of 
remarkable poetical talent, was overcome by the 
neglect of his contemporaries. He ultimately 
dreaded that his name would be mentioned as a 
poet, and desired that after his decease he should 
be forgotten. 

The humble circumstances of Scottish poets fur- 
nish some curious biographical particulars. Alexander 
Wilson, afterwards more distinguished as an ornitho- 
logist than a poet, composed his songs and ballads 
while carrying a wallet. James Macfarlan, whose 
extraordinary merits are not yet fully recognized, 
likewise commenced life as a pedlar. William 
Xicholson, author of "The Brownie of Blednoch," 
was a pedlar and gaberlunzie. Andrew Scott, who 
composed the popular ballad of " Symon and Janet," 
was a parish sexton. William Thorn, author of 
"The Mitherless Bairn," was a poor handloom 
weaver. John Younger, a respectable poet, and 
author of the prize essay on the Sabbath, was an 


operative shoemaker. Nearly all the bards have 
been poor, — the children of misfortune. Some have 
brought discomfort upon themselves by that love of 
whisky which is so inherent in Scottish minstrels 
of the lowlier rank. 



" Nemo me impune lacesset." 

Scottish National Motto. 

" I know you lawyers can with ease, 
Twist words and meanings as you please." 


The subtle character of the Scottish mind has ren- 
dered the legal profession one of the most prosperous. 
Scotsmen go to law about the veriest trifles, and 
debate the most paltry differences with singular 
energy. Compromise is seldom acceded to, and 
as there is a succession of tribunals before which 
nearly every description of process may be tried, 
lawyers enjoy a perpetual feast. Litigants seldom 
rest satisfied till they have either exhausted their 
finances, or at least the round of the courts. To the 
English mind it is quite inconceivable how import- 
ant a Scotsman feels when he has a case in the 
Court of Session. Sir Walter Scott has delineated 
the Scottish litigant in the person of Peter Peebles ; 
and his description of that personage presents no 
exaggerated picture of that class of persons whose 



names frequently figure in the reports of the law 
courts. Formerly a litigation in the Court of 
Session continued, on an average, seven years ; 
and if either of the combatants died during the 
pending of the process, the war was prosecuted with 
unabated vigour by their representatives. When the 
parties were prosperous the process usually divided 
itself into several branches. The litigant who lost 
on one point was nearly certain to gain upon 
another. So he was encouraged to persevere. In 
cases involving actions for libel or damage to pro- 
perty, juries are empanneled. When the party re- 
ceiving an adverse verdict is wealthy, his legal 
advisers recommend that the Court should be 
moved for a new trial. The grounds alleged on this 
motion are generally that the verdict of the jury has 
been contrary to the evidence, or that the presiding 
judge has misstated or omitted to state some point 
of law in summing up the evidence. It is remark- 
able how readily both judges and jurors admit 
their own errors. Judges have granted more than 
one new trial in the same cause on the alleged failure 
of the learned brother who had presided. In a 
recent celebrated cause the jury subscribed a me- 
morial to the court, setting forth that had they heard 
the presiding judge properly, and so understood his 
meaning, they would have decided differently. 

A most interesting volume might be written, 
tracing the rise and progress and issues of civil pro- 
cesses in the Scottish courts. Cases which have 



racked the minds of the combatants for the most 
precious years of their lives, and permanently im- 
poverished their finances, have sprung from the most 
trivial causes. In every instance the kind offices of 
a few neighbours might have settled all differences 
without more expense than might be incurred at a 
social meeting. A few instances of the course of 
Scottish litigation may be quoted. 

About the commencement of this century, two 
Stirlingshire lairds, whose estates adjoined, had, in 
arranging their boundaries, each laid claim to an 
aged hawthorn. The parties were mutually deter- 
mined to possess it, and so entered on a litigation in 
the Sheriff Court. From the decision of the sheriff- 
substitute or resident county judge, the case was 
appealed to the sheriff. It was then entered in the 
Court of Session, passing under the review of the 
Lord Ordinary. Brought into the Inner House, the 
Gase was there debated and adjudicated. Several 
questions now arose out of the main process, and 
appeals on these as well as on the entire case were 
carried to the House of Lords. The various appeals 
having been heard by their lordships, a decree was 
pronounced, submitting the case with its many 
complications to arbitration. After a further period 
of exciting debate, the arbiter decided that both 
claimants had failed to establish a title to the haw- 
thorn. He ruled that it should be enclosed by a 
walled fence, at the joint expense of the litigants, 
and that each party should settle his own legal costs. 


What these costs were is not related, but they were of 
an amount sufficient to call for the sale of both estates. 

An opulent landowner in the neighbourhood of 
Dunblane was passionately fond of litigation. He 
was wont to say that he had a pain in his stomach 
when he had no case in the Dunblane court. A 
young whale happened to strand in a quarry on his 
estate which opened into the Teith. The quarryman 
secured the animal, the value of which was incon- 
siderable. Hearing of the capture, the landowner 
proceeded with two attendants and claimed the 
whale as part of his estate. In accordance with the 
mode of taking possession of a newly-discovered 
island, he stuck his staff in the animal, and affixed 
his handkerchief to the staff as an apology for a flag. 
Proceedings were now entered in the Dunblane 
court, which ended in the Court of Session. The 
original discoverer was successful throughout; but 
the landlord gratified his peculiar tastes, and paid for 
them the value of many whales. 

Another story about a whale may be related. 
About the year 1848, one of these ocean monsters 
was stranded in the bay of St. Andrews. The huge 
carcase was discovered close by the eastern shore. 
The tenant of the adjoining farm proceeded to claim 
the animal as his prize, his laird waiving his supposed 
prior title in his behalf. Meanwhile a lawyer dis- 
covered that the Earl of Crawford, as superior of the 
district lands, possessed certain rights in connection 
with the carcase. A third claimant came forward, 


the procurator fiscal of the county, as the repre- 
sentative of the Crown. This functionary took pos- 
session of the carcass, and in the Queen's name 
planted a guard upon it. The Earl of Crawford and 
the district laird and his tenant were content to 
avoid the certain loss of maintaining their respective 
claims by litigation. The Crown authorities called a 
public auction, and sold the blubber. About ten 
pounds were realized, and the loss to the Exchequer 
attendant on asserting the claim was inconsiderable. 

Andrew Nicol, a native of Kinross, was thirty 
years a litigant in the courts about a midden heap, 
or small dunghill. Andrew was a sensible and judi- 
cious person save on the subject of his litigation, 
about which he was unreasonable and uncompro- 
mising. He was well known in the Parliament 
House, where he passed under the soubriquet of 
"Muck Andrew." He carried with him a plan of 
his dung-heap, and was ready to expatiate on the 
history of his case to any one who had the curiosity 
to address him, or listen to his details. Andrew 
closed his career in the debtors' prison at Cupar- 
Fife, in 1817. 

Mr. Campbell, of Laguine, was an opulent and enter- 
prising farmer in the north of Scotland. He intro- 
duced sheep-farming into the counties of Eoss and 
Caithness. Possessed of many estimable qualities, 
generous, and even good-tempered, his single peculiar- 
ity was to spend a portion of his income in litigation. 
When he had sold his wool, he made a journey to 


Edinburgh, to consult with his lawyers, and he took 
care to pay for every meal double by the way, in the 
full expectation that his finances would be exhausted 
on the law before his return. Mr. Campbell con- 
sulted the most eminent counsel ; he kept them long, 
but was most liberal in his fees. It is related of him 
that, in the absence of a distinguished lawyer on 
whom he called, he sought an interview with his wife, 
to whom in her drawing-room he explained the nature 
of his errand. The lady was patient, and listened for 
some hours to the statement of his pleas. Mr. 
Campbell was so gratified with her attention, that he 
left a sum of money as a fee, remarking that he had 
got quite as much satisfaction as if he had seen the 
lawyer himself. On one occasion, when his last case 
had been settled in court, he was asked by his solicitor 
what he would do now ? meaning how he would feel 
for lack of his wonted excitement. " I suppose," said 
the litigant, " I must now dispute payment of your 

A parish clergyman possessed a favourite dog. 
The animal was accused to its master by a neigh- 
bouring farmer of destroying two of his sheep. The 
clergyman was not satisfied that his cur was guilty, 
but consented to pay the cost of the sheep. The 
farmer wished that the dog should be killed. The 
clergyman refused to kill his dog, but was willing in 
the event of its being detected in the farmer's folds, 
to chain it up or send it into exile. The farmer led 
the clergyman into the provincial law courts. Sub- 


sequently the case was appealed to the Court of 
Session. Seven years did the parties pursue and 
defend in a series of law processes. The most emi- 
nent counsel were employed on both sides. The 
clergyman was victorious, but costs were not awarded 
him. He survived thirty years, and by living on 
the third of his stipend during that period was en- 
abled to discharge his obligations. 

The pertinacity with which Scotsmen pursue their 
real or supposed rights is in strict keeping with the 
national character. In the person of Sir William 
Wallace it thrust back English domination at Stirling 
Bridge, and established under Eobert Bruce the na- 
tional liberties at Bannockburn. But the indomit- 
able spirit of the patriot has often degenerated into 
the sheer obstinacy of the partisan. The determina- 
tion not to yield has been the fruitful source of 
disaster, insolvency, and ruin. 

Captain Alexander Aytoun died in 1766, and 
under his father's testamentary deed was succeeded 
in his valuable estates of Kinaldie and Kippo by his 
maternal cousin, James Monypenny. The near rela- 
tives of the testator disputed the validity of the 
will A litigation ensued which continued twelve 
years. The testamentary deed was found valid, but 
the decision was pecuniarily fatal to all the com- 
petitors. Mr. Monypenny, who was found legally 
possessed of the estates, was under the necessity of 
disposing of his acquisition to defray the costs of his 


The gentler sex have not been exempted from the 
national weakness of litigious pertinacity. A la/te 
female representative of the earldom of Crawford 
was constantly a plaintiff in one or other of the law 
courts. The case of succession to the estate of 
Eoughwood, in Ayrshire, was, owing to the untiring 
energy of a gentlewoman, protracted in the law 
courts for upwards of half a century. Though suf- 
fering under the disheartening influences of suc- 
cessive defeats both in the courts of America and 
England, and though barristers had ceased to recom- 
mend a prolongation of hostilities, Miss Sheddon 
continued to prosecute her claims with determination 
and vigour. Her eloquence in addressing the courts 
on intricate points of law astonished learned senators, 
and excited on the part of many a feeling of regret 
that her powerful energies and remarkable powers 
of analysis had not been supported by more sub- 
stantial claims. 

Madame Lina Sassen, the reputed wife of Sir 
James Campbell, of Ardkinglass, became so ena- 
moured of the law, consequent on prosecuting her 
alleged husband for a legal recognition of matri- 
monial rights, that for twenty years she was a con- 
stant attendant at the sittings of the Court of 
Session. That her suit against Sir James was un- 
successful did not diminish her legal ardour. She 
unceasingly renewed her claims, which she hoped 
would ultimately triumph. Her various pleas were 
only terminated by her death. 


The following remarkable instance of pertinacity 
on the part of two married persons in humble life 
was related to the writer by the chief magistrate of 
a northern burgh, who vouched for the accuracy of 
the particulars. A married couple in the parish of 
Farnell had lived together happily for several years. 
One evening, when they were seated at their fireside, 
a mouse chanced to run across the floor. " There's a 
moosie," said the wife, " it cam frae below the bed." 
"Na," said the husband, "it cam oot below the 
kist."* The parties began to debate the point, a 
keen argument ensued, and angry words passed on 
both sides. The controversy was resumed in the 
morning, and continued with increasing violence 
from day to day, till the wife left the house and 
returned to her friends. The couple lived apart for 
twelve years, when, on the intercession of friends, 
they became reconciled. They resumed house-keep- 
ing together, and during five years the voice of dis- 
cord was unheard. At length the wife ventured to 
refer to the cause of their long estrangement. 
" Wasn't it very absurd, dear John," said she, " that 
we should have separated about sic a trifle as a 
moosie comin' frae below the bed ? " "I tell ye that 
it cam oot below the kist, woman," said the husband 
sharply. " It didna do that, John," retorted the wife, 
" I mind see'n 't, as if 'twere yesterday, comin' frae 
under the bed." The husband started to his feet, 
and vehemently maintained that his wife was speak- 

* Chest. 


ing falsely. The spirit of discord was again evoked. 
The parties separated, and were never reunited. 

A story respecting the taming of a shrewish 
countess was communicated to the writer by an aged 
gentlewoman. A landowner near Forfar had an 
only daughter, who, having been much indulged, had 
become wilful and headstrong. Her prospects being 
considerable, a noble earl became a suitor for her 
hand. His lordship procured the lady's consent, and 
they were married. Before the marriage her lady- 
ship was entreated by her sire to subdue her unyield- 
ing spirit, and duly warned that in the event of any 
difference with her husband, she would receive no 
countenance in the paternal home. The counsel did 
not avail, for a few weeks after the wedding she con- 
trived to quarrel with her noble consort. Thereupon 
she ordered a carriage to convey her to her fathers 
house. Her father, who had been daily expecting the 
arrival, was prepared, and so when the carriage drew 
up and the footman knocked, he personally demanded 

the visitor's name. " The Countess of ," shouted 

the footman ; while the lady, who was hastening 
to rush into the house, exclaimed how grievously 
wronged she had been by the earL "Then," re- 
sponded her sire, "since Lord has ill-treated 

my daughter, I'll take vengeance on his wife." And 
so saying, he displayed a large carriage whip, which 
he brandished about the lady's shoulders. It was 
enough. The countess fled to her carriage. Driving 
back to her husband's residence, she began to reflect 



on the necessity of imposing upon herself some mea- 
sure of restraint. 

The lady of John, twelfth Lord Gray, adopted 
a novel method of checking the obstinacy of her 
husband. "When the Duke of Cumberland arrived 
at Dundee in 1745 to assume command of the 
royal troops, Lord Gray, as Lord Lieutenant of the 
county, waited on his Highness. The duke pos- 
sessed an overbearing manner, and received his 
lordship haughtily. Lord Gray was excessively in- 
dignant. He hastily returned to his residence at 
Gray, and informing his wife of the rude reception 
which he had experienced, expressed his determina- 
tion to be revenged. " I will let that Hanoverian 
know," said his lordship, " that I have as ancient blood 
in my veins as he can boast of, and that Scottish 
noblemen are not to be treated as if they were a 
pack of German land-lowpers. To-morrow I will 
join Prince Charles." Lady Gray knew that her 
lord could not by ordinary persuasion be induced to 
abandon any enterprise on which he had resolved. 
So she listened in silence. When bedtime came, his 
lordship expressed a desire to bathe his feet. Lady 
Gray instructed the attendant to bring to the apart- 
ment a pitcher of boiling water, and undertook per- 
sonally to attend the process of the bath. When all 
was prepared her ladyship took up the pitcher, and 
discharged the entire contents on his lordship's legs 
and feet. One frantic roar fully testified that her 
object was attained. Lord Gray's limbs were so 


scalded that locomotion was impossible. Her lady- 
ship screamed in affected horror at what she had 
done, and the family physician was sent for. When 
his lordship sufficiently recovered to resume the use 
of his limbs, his ire against Cumberland had abated, 
and it was too late, though the intention had re- 
mained, to offer service to the cause of the young 

These anecdotes may serve to illustrate that pecu- 
liar mood of the Scottish people which has so amply 
conduced to the business of the courts of law. It 
would, however, be most unjust to an honourable pro- 
fession to ascribe to its more eminent members the 
encouragement of litigation. The most distinguished 
Scottish lawyers have uniformly discountenanced it. 

Lord Chancellor Erskine, when at the bar, was 
consulted by his friend, Dr. Parr, in regard to a case 
which he thought of litigating. " Accommodate the 
difference amicably," said Erskine ; " I can scarcely 
fancy a situation in which a lawsuit is not to be 
avoided." " A lawyer," said Lord Brougham, " is a 
learned gentleman, who rescues your estate from 
your enemies, and keeps it himself." " If any man," 
said Lord Cockburn, " was to claim my coat, and I 
believed that he was serious in his demand, I would 
rather part both with it and my vest than defend my 
title to it at the law." "Litigation," said Lord 
Jeffrey to the father of the writer, " is to be recom- 
mended to those only who possess a surplus of funds, 
and wish to get quit of it sensationally." To a client 


who insisted on having the last rights of the law, 
Sir James Gibson Craig remarked, " Well, let me tell 
you, the man who will have the last right and the 
last word at law is very like the man who will have 
the last drop in the tankard ; he has the chance of 
getting the lid down on his nose." 

Some of the most distinguished lawyers who have 
adorned the Scottish bench were persons of eccentric 
manners and strange peculiarities. The Hon. James 
Erskine, of Grange, a Lord of Session by the title 
of Lord Grange, was a person of singular cha- 
racter. He was younger brother of the Earl of Mar, 
who was attainted for exciting the insurrection of 
1715, and bore in respect of unsettled principles no 
inconsiderable resemblance to that unfortunate no- 
bleman. He was husband of that "Lady Grange" 
whose unwarrantable detention in the Western Isles 
forms one of the most remarkable episodes in modern 
history. The Hon. Mrs. Erskine, otherwise called 
Lady Grange, was daughter of Chiesley, of Dairy, 
who, on account of a decision of the Court of Session 
compelling him to maintain his wife and children, 
mortally wounded Sir George Lockhart, the Lord 
President, on returning from his place of worship. 
The disposition of Mrs. Erskine was too similar to 
that of her sire ; she was a woman of ungovernable 
temper, revengeful, and unscrupulous in the accom- 
plishment of her ends. She had, by concealing 
herself under a sofa in her husband's business 
chamber, become acquainted with certain circum- 


stances which would certainly, on being publicly 
divulged, have cost him his office; for during the 
rising of 1715, some adherents of the House of 
Stuart frequently assembled in Lord Grange's man- 
sion to concoct measures in support of the insurrec- 
tion. Menaces of exposure, which were repeated by 
Mrs. Erskine on every occasion she happened to differ 
with her husband, rendered the domestic condition 
of Lord Grange singularly wretched. At length she 
was induced, in 1730, to accept a separate mainten- 
ance. She took lodgings at Edinburgh, but she now 
proceeded to vex her husband with angry missives 
containing her wonted threats. The daughter of one 
who in cold blood could deprive a high legal func- 
tionary of life for conscientiously discharging the 
duties of his office was not likely to make much 
scruple in sacrificing her husband to her resentment. 
Lord Grange consulted the members of his family — 
two adult sons and a daughter, married to the Earl 
of Kintore, and they unitedly concluded that it was 
necessary to place their unhappy relative under 
permanent restraint. Mrs. Erskine was accordingly 
seized in her lodgings on the evening of Saturday, 
the 22nd April, 1732, and conducted from place to 
place by night journeys till she reached the Hebrides. 
Eor two years she was kept on the lonely isle of 
Hisker, under the care of a peasant farmer. She 
was then removed to the remote and lonely St. 
Kilda, where she remained seven years. Having 
succeeded after nine years' captivity in conveying 


information to the authorities of her detention, her 
husband and children, who had become aware of her 
proceeding, caused her to be conveyed to the Isle of 
Skye. There she died in May, 1745, after a captivity 
of thirteen years. Her remains were interred in the 
churchyard of Trumpin, Waternish, Isle of Skye. 

The demigration and confinement of Lady Grange 
have been justified on account of the unhappy con- 
dition of her mind, and the want of ordinary asylums 
at the period. Posterity would have been more 
willing to forgive the procedure had the conduct of 
her husband been otherwise commendable. But 
Lord Grange was, it is much to be feared, one of the 
most insincere and unscrupulous of his contem- 
poraries. When at his country seat and among the 
clergy, he professed piety and exhibited the signs of 
a superior sanctity. In Edinburgh he was known as 
a debauchee. He was intensely ambitious. After 
being a Lord of Session for nearly thirty years, 
he resigned his post and entered the House of 
Commons, as member for Clackmannanshire. He 
expected the appointment of Secretary of State for 
Scotland, which would have enabled him to com- 
mand its patronage. But his short-sighted policy 
put a check on his prospects. With a view to please 
the Scottish clergy, he warmly opposed the repeal of 
the statutes against witchcraft, and declared his belief 
in the necromantic arts. This procedure ruined his 
parliamentary influence. He retired from public 
affairs, and betook himself to inglorious seclusion. 


His chief haunt was a coffee-house in the London 
Haymarket, the keeper of which was commonly 
believed to be his mistress. 

Lord Monboddo, an eminent judge of the Supreme 
Court, laboured under the singular hallucination that 
the human race were originally possessed of tails. 
He had persuaded himself that these were removed 
by accoucheurs so soon as children were born. When 
a birth took place in his house, he kept watch at the 
door of the apartment, and demanded that the young 
stranger might immediately be presented to him. 
He was much disappointed that he could never dis- 
cover any evidence of a caudal appendage having 
been wrenched off. 

Lord Monboddo was impatient of contradiction, 
and insisted that the instructions which he conveyed 
to persons in his employment should be obeyed to the 
letter. He had entrusted a horse to a farrier, with 
directions that a certain medicine was to be given to 
the animal. The farrier administered the medicine 
in treacle. The horse having died next morning, his 
lordship narrowly inquired when and how the medi- 
cine had been given. Finding that treacle had 
been used, he prosecuted the farrier for the price 
of the horse. His lordship pleaded his own cause at 
the bar of the court, but failed to convince his col- 
leagues that his claim was just. 

Lord Monboddo regarded riding on horseback as 
the most gentlemanlike mode of locomotion. His 
journeys to London were always performed on horse- 



back. He to attempted to ride London in his eighty- 
fourth year, but was obliged to return when he had 
reached Dunbar. His lordship did not sit on the 
bench of the court, but at the clerk's table. Sundry 
odd reasons have been assigned for this practice, but 
it is believed the true cause was that he suffered 
from deafness, and was too conscientious to give 
judgment in any case without fully hearing the 
arguments of counsel on both sides. 

Lord Monboddo was the patron of Professor John 
Hunter, of St. Andrews, the celebrated scholar. Mr. 
Hunter was born at Closeburn, Dumfriesshire; and 
having been educated at the famous academy of 
Wallace Hall, in his native parish, had been recom- 
mended to Monboddo for his scholarly attainments. 
The learned judge was surprised at the extent of 
Hunter's classical knowledge, and at once gave him 
employment as his amanuensis. "When the Humanity 
Professorship in the University of St. Andrews 
became vacant, his lordship recommended Mr. 
Hunter to the patron, General Scott, who at once 
appointed him to the chair. 

Lord Karnes was a very eccentric judge. He had 
acquired the ridiculous habit of familiarly styling 
his friends by the term which designates a female 
dog. At an advanced age he retired from the bench. 
After taking farewell of his colleagues in a solemn 
address, and shaking hands with them all round, he 
was about to retire from the court-room, when the 
deep feelings of the moment re-awakened his pecu- 



liarity, and he cried, with a broken utterance 
"Fareweel — fare ye a' weel, ye bitches!" Dr. 
David Doig, Eector of the grammar school of 
Stirling, a person of remarkable learning, published 
anonymously two letters to Lord Karnes respect- 
ing certain extravagant opinions advanced in his 
"Sketches of the History of Man." Having ascer- 
tained the authorship of the criticisms, his lordship 
called upon Dr. Doig, and finding him in his school- 
room, saluted him with, "Are you the bitch that 
wrote those letters?" "I am the Dog who did so, 
my lord," responded the rector. 

Lord Karnes was prodigiously fond of gossip. There 
was a lame porter, who bore the sobriquet of Linkum 
the Cadie, who was not more remarkable for his 
awkward gestures than for an extraordinary faculty 
for picking up news. Linkum hovered at his lord- 
ship's door every morning to convey to him his sup- 
plies of news in his progress to the Parliament House. 

In the district of his estate of Blair-Drummond 
Lord Karnes was noted as a zealous agriculturist. 
He was expatiating to a farmer in the Carse of 
Stirling on the alleged discovery of Baron von 
Haak, a German, who professed to fertilize an acre 
of land by a wonderfully small quantity of a kind 
of manure which he offered for sale. The farmer 
expressed a decided doubt as to the efficacy of the 
Baron's nostrum. " My friend," said Lord Karnes, 
"there are such wonderful discoveries in science, 
that I should not be surprised if at some future 



time we might be able to carry the manure of an 
acre of land to the field in our coat pocket." " In 
that case, my lord/' rejoined the farmer, "you would 
be able to bring back the crop in your waistcoat 
pocket. " 

Lord Braco was excessively fond of money. Walk- 
ing in the avenue which conducted through his 
demesne, he saw a farthing at his feet, which he 
took up, cleaned, and deposited in his pocket. A 
mendicant who happened to come up, begged that 
his lordship would bestow upon him the small coin 
which he had picked up. "Fin" a farthing for 
yourser, my man," said his lordship, as he slowly 
pursued his walk. 

Lord Hermand was noted for his irritability of 
temper. When presiding at the Circuit Court at 
Inverness, a wag, aware of his weakness of temper, 
set a musical snuff-box a-playing on one of the 
benches. A pause in the business of the court 
immediately ensued. "Macer, what in the world 
is that?" exclaimed the irate judge. The officer 
looked about to discover the delinquent. " It's 
Jack's alive, my lord !" exclaimed the unsuspected 
offender. " Dead or alive, put him out this moment," 
said the judge. "We canna grup him, my lord," 
was the reply. " I say !" exclaimed the judge, "let 
every one assist to arraign him before me at once." 
The music having stopped, the Macer stated to his 
lordship that the offender had escaped. The trial 
was resumed, when in half an hour another tune 


sprung up. " He's there again !" cried his lordship. 
" Fence the doors of the court ; let not a man escape." 
Search proved useless. " This is deceptio auris" said 
his lordship, somewhat subdued. 

A large party was dining with Lord Hermand at 
his country residence. During dinner one of the 
attendants let fall a wine decanter, which was broken 
to pieces. The excited judge started to his feet, 
rushed after the unhappy waiter, who fled pre- 
cipitately down-stairs. His lordship resumed his 
seat, as if nothing had occurred. 

Lord Auchinleck was possessed of considerable 
powers of sarcasm. His son, James Boswell, was 
not exempted from its frequent application. Eeferring 
to his son's accompanying Johnson in his Scottish 
tour, and otherwise courting his society, the old 
judge remarked that he had often heard of bears 
being led about by men, but that Jamie was the 
first man he had ever heard of who was led about 
by a bear. 

James Boswell was one day expatiating to his 
father on the learning and other good qualities of 
Dr. Johnson, in the hope of removing his prejudices 
against the lexicographer. " He is," concluded James, 
"the grand luminary of our hemisphere — quite a 
constellation, sir." " Ursa Major, I suppose?" drily 
responded his lordship. 

In extracts from a journal, entitled " Boswelliana," 
by James Boswell, privately printed by Lord Houghton, 
occur the following notices of Lord Auchinleck : — 



"My father," writes James Boswell, "had all 
along so firm, so dry a mind, that religious prin- 
ciples, however carefully inculcated by his father 
and mother, and however constantly they remained 
on the surface, never incorporated with his thoughts, 
never penetrated into the seat of his affections. They 
were a dead range, not a quickset hedge ; the fence 
had a good appearance enough, and was sufficiently 
strong, but it never flourished in green luxuriance, 
never blossomed, never bore fruit. The ground 
within, however, produced plentiful crops of useful 
exertions as a judge, and improvements as a (laird) 
landed gentleman. And let it be considered that 
there may be a fine fence round barren, unprofitable 
land. 24th September, 1780" 

"Lord Auchinleck," adds his son, "was one of 
the most firm and indefatigable judges that ever 
lived. Brown at Utrecht said, ' He was one of those 
great beams that are placed here and there to support 
the edifice of society/ " 

"Brown at Utrecht," to whom James Boswell 
refers as thus eulogizing his father, was afterwards 
well known as the Principal of Marischal College, 
Aberdeen, and author of the prize essay "On the 
Existence of a Supreme Being." It may not detract 
from the character of Lord Auchinleck to assert that 
it is in the highest degree probable that Dr. Brown 
had passed his eulogy upon him more to gratify his 
vain and eccentric son than from any solid conviction 
of the truth of his assertion. Dr. Brown was known 


to the father of the writer, who used to speak of 
him as the most persevering satirist whom he ever 
met in society. His disposition was to assail rather 
than commend. Principal HilL of St. Andrews, on 
being privately asked by Lord Melville his opinion 
of L>r. Brown before his appointment to Marischal 
College, stated that he was regarded as somewhat 
too impetuous in temper. By the mistake of a 
clerk Dr. Hill's statement had been shown to Dr. 
Brown, who in consequence levied war on his brother 
Principal He published a long poem, entitled 0 Phi- 
lemon," in which, under the name of Yulpellas, he 
depicted Dr. Hill with fierce invective. The grand- 
father of Dr. Brown, as minister of Cortaehy, dis- 
tinguisbed hims elf by appearing armed in support 
of the reigning family in 1715. He was consequently 
promoted to the chair of Ecclesiastical History at 
St. Andrews. His lectures were composed in Latin. 
Six lectures of the course were entitled Be* gestae 
ante mundum condition. 

Another extract from his son's journal will conclude 
our notices of Lord Auchinleck : — 

u Lord Auchinleck said, 4 The great point for a 
judge is to conduct a cause with safety and expedi- 
tion, like a skilful pilot. The agents always endeavour 
to keep a cause afloat ; but I have my eye upon the 
haven, and the moment I have got him fairly in 
order, I give one hearty push, and then he is 
landed' " 

Lord Hailes was celebrated for his minute accuracy 



in business affairs. He had an only daughter, whose 
succession to his estates depended on his having 
destined them to her by testamentary deed. But 
after his lordship's death no document of the nature 
of a will could be found. His daughter, Miss 
Dalrymple, was preparing, in consequence, to vacate 
the paternal home to make room for the heir male, 
when one of the domestics, in closing the window- 
shutters, discovered a document resting behind one 
of the panels, which she handed to her mistress. It 
proved to be his lordship's will, which w r as found to 
secure her in possession of his estates. 

Sir George Mackenzie, the celebrated Lord 
Advocate, was an acute but unscrupulous lawyer. 
He possessed a valuable estate, which was likely 
to be inherited by his only daughter. The Earl 
of Bute was a suitor for the hand of the heiress, 
but he dreaded the opposition of her father in the 
event of his making proposals of marriage. Having 
obtained the young lady's consent, he adopted an 
amusing ruse to overcome the hostility of her sire. 
He called upon him in the capacity of a client, and 
submitted a case representing all the circumstances, 
the lady's name only being concealed. He then 
asked Sir George how he should proceed, and 
w r hether, in the event of their being married with- 
out the father's consent, they might be disappointed 
in enjoying his estates on his decease. Sir George, 
unconscious that he was concerned in the matter, 
gave counsel which led to his daughter becoming, 


by a clandestine marriage, the wife of his 

Lord President Dundas had six clerks. He 
characterized them thus: — "Two cannot read, two 
cannot write, and the other two can neither read 
nor write." One of those who could not read was 
the eccentric Sir James Colquhoun. His lordship's 
remarks were of course hypercritical; but it is 
related of Lord Gardenstoun, as an historical fact, 
that he was unable to spell the most common words. 
His lordship was author of several respectable pub- 
lications. James Boswell persisted in misspelling 
certain words. The word friend he uniformly wrote 

Lord Braxfield possessed eminent forensic talents, 
but was excessively coarse in his judicial procedure. 
During the trial of Muir, one of the political prisoners 
of 1793-4, he said to one of the jury, as he passed 
behind the bench to get into the jury-box, " Come 
awaV Maister Horner; come awa', and help us to 
hang ane o' thae daamned scoondrels." 

The clerk of the Criminal Court, Mr. Joseph 
Norris, was an authority in forms and precedents. 
When any doubts were started regarding the validity 
of a criminal indictment, Braxfield used to say, 
" Hoot ! just gie me Josie Norrie and a gude jury, 
an' I'll do for the fallow." 

Lord Eskgrove is described by Lord Cockburn in 
his " Memorials of his Time " as a most eccentric 
personage. Cockburn heard him sentence a tailor 


for murdering a soldier in these words : — " And not 
only did you murder him, whereby he was berea-vecl 
of his life, but you did thrust, or push, or pierce, or 
project, or propell the li-thall weapon through the 
belly-band of his regimental breeches, which were 
his Majesty's." 

While summing up evidence in a case for the 
opinion of the jury, Eskgrove spoke thus : — " And 
so, gentlemen, having shown you that the pannel's 
argument is utterly irnpossibill, I shall now proceed 
for to show you that it is extremely improbabill" 

A young lady of great personal attractions having 
come into court as a witness in a case, modestly 
drew down her veil. Lord Eskgrove called to her, 
"Madam, lift up your veil; throw off all modesty, 
and look me in the face." 

Lord Eskgrove could not tolerate those counsel 
who evinced ingenuity or acuteness. He conceived 
a great aversion to young Brougham, then practising 
at the Edinburgh bar. He designated Brougham 
the Harangue. "Well, gentlemen," he said to a 
jury, "what did the Harangue say next? Why, it 
is this [his lordship misstated it] ; but here, gentle- 
men, the Harangue was most plainly wrangg, and 
not intelligibill." 

Lord Cockburn was the last Scottish judge who 
habitually used the vernacular. His easy manners 
and intimate familiarity with provincial phrases ren- 
dered him expert in examining witnesses from the 
country. He was, as a counsel, associated with 


Francis Jeffrey in a cause in which their client 
sought to prove that the heir of a landed property 
was incapable of administering his affairs. A country 
farmer, who was understood to be favourable to the 
views of the pursuer, was examined by Mr. Jeffrey, 
who failed to procure satisfactory answers to his 
questions. Cockburn came to the assistance of his 
learned colleague. "Ye ken Davie, I suppose?", 
said he to the witness. " Ou aye," responded the 
farmer, " I've kent him since he wasna muckle 
bigger than ma loof." "Ay, an' what d'ye think o' 
the cratur?" "Think o' him?" said the farmer. 
"The cratur has naething in him ava." "Wad ye 
trust him in the market to sell a coo?" proceeded 
,the counsel, " Deed no," answered the witness ; " I 
rnaist think he disna ken a coo frae a calf." " That 
will do, John," said Mr. Cockburn," who resumed 
his seat. 

A prosecution in the Justiciary Court was likely 
to break down, consequent on the counsel for the 
Crown being unable to elicit from a witness the 
particular position of the prisoner at the time when 
the crime was committed. The witness had deponed 
that the prisoner was neither standing, nor sitting, 
nor lying, nor crouching. "Was she on her cutty 
hunkers?"* inquired Mr. Cockburn, coming to the 
rescue of the Crown counsel. " That's it," responded 
the witness. 

* A peculiar bending of and resting upon the lower limbs, common 
among the peasantry. 


During a jury trial at Jedburgh, Messrs. Jeffrey, 
Cockburn, and Moncreiff, all subsequently judges, 
were engaged as counsel. When Mr. Moncreiff was 
addressing the jury, Mr. Jeffrey playfully handed 
the following case to his learned brother, Mr. Cock- 
burn, for his opinion : — " A legacy was lately left 
by an elderly gentlewoman in the north to the 
Peer of Aberdeen. As the will was written by the 
lady herself, and was generally deficient in spelling 
and accuracy of expression, a dispute has arisen as 
to the intent of the testator, and the following 
claimants have appeared for the legacy. First, the 
Earl of Aberdeen; second, the commissioners for 
erecting the pier at Aberdeen; and third, the 
manager of the Charity Workhouse, who grounds 
his right on the fact that the old lady was in the 
habit more majorum of pronouncing poor peer. To 
which of the parties does the money belong?" Mr. 
Cockburn appended his opinion in these words: — 
" The legacy belongs to none of the three claimants, 
but to the Horticultural Society of Scotland, for the 
purpose of promoting the culture of a kind of fruit, 
called, or to be called, the Pear of Aberdeen.'' 

Lord Jeffrey, it is stated, refused to be appointed 
a Lord of Justiciary, lest, in passing the last sentence 
of the law, he might be compared with that friend 
of capital punishment, the infamous Judge Jeffreys 
of England. A similar sensitiveness led to his 
retaining his own name as a Lord of Session, 
instead of assuming the designation of his estate of 


Craigcrook, u A Lord Craig-crook," * said his lord- 
ship, "would alarm everybody." 

The youngest son of Henry David, fifth Earl of 
Buchan, became the celebrated Lord Chancellor 
Erskine. He was a famous humourist. 

A barrister, named Lamb, was of an extremely 
nervous and sensitive nature, and he usually pre- 
faced his pleadings by offering an apology for these 
constitutional defects. On one occasion when he 
was opposed to Erskine, he remarked in court that 
he found himself growing more and more timid as 
he grew older. " No wonder," rejoined Erskine ; 
" every one knows the older a Lamb grows the more 
sheepish he becomes." 

Polito, keeper of the menagerie in Exeter Change, 
brought an action against the proprietors of a stage- 
coach for negligence, his portmanteau having been 
stolen from the boot of the coach behind while he 
had been sitting on the box. Erskine was retained 
as counsel for the coach proprietors. He said to the 
jury, "Why should not the plaintiff take a lesson 
from his own sagacious elephant, and travel with his 
trunk before him ?" The joke gained the case for 
the defendants. 

Lord Erskine, when at the bar, was consulted by 
the Duke of Queensberry as to whether a tradesman 
might be sued for a breach of contract about painting 
his house. Mr. Erskine returned the papers to his 

* Those unfamiliar with Scottish forms of expression may be 
informed that to crook a craig is to hang some one. 



Grace with this opinion expressed on an enclosed slip, 
— " This action will not lie unless the witnesses do." 

The future Chancellor was taken ill one evening 
at Lady Payne's. On her ladyship expressing a 
hope that his indisposition might not prove serious, 
he replied in the following impromptu : — 

" 'Tis true I am ill, but I need not complain, 
For he never knew pleasure who never knew Payne." 

With the celebrated Dr. Parr Lord Erskine main- 
tained terms of close friendship. " If I survive you," 
said the doctor to him one day, "I'll write your 
epitaph." "It is a temptation to commit suicide," 
responded the wit. 

In his latter years the Chancellor became eccentric 
and credulous. He became a believer in apparitions 
and the second sight, and used to relate to his 
friends that John Burnet, his father's valet, who had 
been long dead, had reappeared to him. 

Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of Eosslyn, Lord 
Chancellor from 1793 to 1801, was originally a mem- 
ber of the Scottish bar. His removal to London was 
consequent on a dispute with Mr. Lockhart, Dean of 
the Faculty of Advocates. The Dean possessed a 
fiery temper, and was extremely overbearing to- 
wards his juniors. He had on one occasion termed 
"Wedderburn " a presumptuous boy," — a rude speech, 
which the young counsel resolved, on the first suit- 
able occasion, to resent. Being opposed to the Dean 
in a case before the court, Wedderburn took occasion 


to allege respecting his learned opponent that " he 
had been disgraced in his person and dishonoured in 
his bed/' referring to his having been menaced with 
a horsewhipping, and to a rumour of his wife's infi- 
delity. This monstrous outrage on the Dean called 
from the Lord President a severe rebuke on the 
offender, who immediately disrobed and left the 
court. He started for London the same day, and 
joining the English bar, attained, after thirty-six 
years' successful practice, the Lord Chancellorship 
and an earldom. 

The Hon. Henry Erskine, an advocate at the 
Scottish bar, was, like his younger brother, Lord 
Chancellor Erskine, a noted wit. His name was 
vulgarly pronounced Askin. When he was Dean of 
Faculty, a foppish advocate, wishing to avoid a ques- 
tion put to him by the Dean, said testily, " I never 
meet you but I find you Askin! 1 " And I," rejoined 
the Dean, " never meet you but I find an anser " (a 

Erskine was dining with Mr. Creech, the book- 
seller, who was rather penurious, and who on one 
occasion entertained his guests with a single bottle 
of Cape wine, though he spoke of some fine Madeira 
which he had in his cellar. Having failed in his 
efforts to induce the host to produce his vaunted 
Madeira, Erskine summed up, " Well, since we Can't 
get to Madeira, we must just double the Cape." 

On being introduced by James Boswell to Dr. 
Samuel Johnson, in the Edinburgh Parliament 


House, Erskine took out a shilling and, slipping 
it into BoswelFs hand, whispered to him, " It's for 
a sight of your bear." 

When informed that Knox, the doorkeeper of 
the Parliament House, had been killed by a small 
cannon fired in honour of the king's birthday, he 
remarked that it was strange a man should live by 
the civil, and die by the canon law. 

A friend ventured to remonstrate with Mr. Erskine 
on his habit of punning, observing that it was, in his 
opinion, the lowest species of wit. "Precisely so," 
rejoined the humourist, "and hence it is the founda- 
tion of the whole." 

John Clerk, afterwards Lord Eldin, was sent to 
London to plead before Lord Chancellor Eldon in an 
important property cause. He was inveterate in his 
use of the Scottish accent. In the course of his 
speech he pronounced the word enow for enough. 
The Chancellor drily remarked, " Mr. Clerk, in Eng- 
land we sound the ough as uff — enuff, not enow." 
" Vera w T eel, ma Lord," said Clerk, " of this we have 
said enuff; and I come, ma Lord, to the subdivision 
of the land in dispute. It was apportioned, ma 
Lord, into what in England would be called pluff 
land, a pluff land being as much land as a pluffman 
can pluff in one day." The Chancellor was con- 
vulsed by the happy repartee, and said, "Proceed, 
Mr. Clerk, "I know enovj of Scotch to understand 
your argument." 

When the learned citizens of Edinburgh indulged 


deeply in their potations, it is related that on a dark, 
misty night Clerk was wending his way homewards 
along Queen Street, towards Picardy Place, but be- 
came bewildered. Accosting a passenger, he blandly 
asked if he could direct him to John Clerk's house. 
The person thus accosted, looking the inquirer in 
the face, exclaimed, "Dear me, you are John Clerk 
yoursel." " I know that well," was the answer, " but 
it is not John Clerk I want, but John Clerk's house." 

A son of Mr. Grahame, the author of " The Sab- 
bath," was very tall and exceedingly lean. One day 
walking on the floor of the Parliament House, he 
attracted the notice of Mr. Clerk. "Who is that?" 
asked the wit. He was answered, " The son of the 
Sabbath." "Is he indeed?" said Clerk; "he looks 
much more like the son of the Fast-day" 

When Clerk was on the bench, an advocate who 
had been pleading before him apologetically con- 
cluded a speech of six hours by remarking that he 
was afraid he had gone beyond his time. " Oh no," 
answered the witty judge, "these last three hours 
you have been speaking to eternity." 

John Hagart of Bantaskine was a celebrated 
counsel. When he undertook a cause, he devoted 
his entire energies to the benefit of his client. In 
one instance he clearly exceeded the duty of an 
advocate. He was defending, in the Justiciary 
Court, a person who had been indicted for murder. 
The crime was alleged to have been committed on 
a moonlight night, and two witnesses were, on the 


part of the Crown, prepared to depone that they 
had seen the prisoner red-hand in the act. Mr. 
Hagart perceived that it was in vain, by ordinary 
means, to invalidate the testimony of the witnesses. 
He had recourse to a stratagem. He caused a new 
leaf to be inserted in his copy of the "Edinburgh 
Almanac " at that portion of the calendar which 
included the date of the alleged crime. , The substi- 
tuted leaf indicated that there was no moonlight on 
the night when the witnesses testified that the 
murder had taken place. When the almanac was 
produced by Mr. Hagart in the course of his speech, 
the deputy advocate, conducting the prosecution, 
was quite taken aback, and at once consented to 
abandon his charge against the prisoner. Such a 
dangerous experiment could not be repeated. 

Hugo Arnot, the historian of Edinburgh, held the 
status of an advocate, though he seldom practised 
before the courts. He was remarkable for his 
eccentric humour and singular impulsiveness. He 
was one day waited upon by a lady, who requested 
him to advise how she might best get rid of an 
admirer, whose importunities caused her annoyance. 
The lady was the reverse of fascinating, and Arnot, 
being indisposed to flatter her vanity, replied, " Oh, 
you had better marry the fellow." "Marry him!" 
replied the astounded lady, "I would see him 
hanged first." "Marry him then," persisted the 
humourist, " and I'll bet on it hell soon hang him- 



Arnot had got into the habit of ringing his bell 
violently. A maiden lady, who lived on the upper 
floor, complained to him that his bell made her 
start, and begged him to be more gentle in ringing 
it. Wearied with her messages, Arnot at length 
said he would cease to use the bell altogether. He 
did so, but in its place discharged a pistol when 
he desired the attendance of his servant. The lady 
was horror-struck, and sent a message entreating 
him to resume the use of his bell. 

One of the most distinguished of the Edinburgh 
advocates happened to possess a somewhat forbidding 
aspect, of which, however, he was happily uncon- 
scious. An accidental circumstance served to inform 
him of the fact. Taking a ride into the country, he 
found, on reaching a toll-bar, that he had forgotten 
his purse. Mentioning the circumstance to the toll- 
keeper, he said he would pay him when he next 
passed. The official seemed rather doubtful. " Look 
in my face," said the advocate to him indignantly, 
"and say whether you think I am likely to cheat 
you." " I'll thank you for the twopence," responded 
the toll-keeper. 

Mr. William Eoss, another lawyer of the capital, 
was more successful in an effort to attain his pur- 
pose. He occupied a country house at Stockbridge, 
then an isolated suburb of the city. Having been 
annoyed with thieves breaking into his garden and 
grounds, he issued a handbill bearing this inscrip- 
tion, — 


"'Thou shalt not Steal/ 

"All persons whom it may concern are desired 
to take notice that steel traps, of the largest size, for 
catching breakers of the eighth commandment, are 
every night placed in the garden of St. Bernard's, 
between Stockbridge and the Water of Leith, on 
the north side of the water; that spring guns are 
set to rake the walls with shot upon the touch of a 
wire ; and that a tent, having in it an armed watch- 
man, is pitched in the middle, with orders to fire 
without mercy. If, therefore, any evil-disposed 
person or persons shall attempt to break into the 
grounds of St. Bernard's, their blood will be upon 
their own heads !" 

The alarming nature of this menace at first 
created a suspicion that the whole was a fiction, 
and some inroads began to be attempted on the pre- 
mises. Mr. Ross now had recourse to a new method 
of alarm. He procured the limb of a body from 
the dissecting-room, and dressing it with a stocking 
and shoe, sent it through the streets with the public 
crier, proclaiming that it had been found last night 
in St. Bernard's garden, and would be restored to 
the owner on application. The coup de main suc- 

One of the most difficult duties of Scottish advo- 
cates is to conduct the examination of witnesses. 
An acute member of the faculty was overcome by 
the smartness of a celebrated physician. Professor 



Gregory was in the witness-box, in a case of alleged 
insanity. His testimony went to prove the insanity. 
In cross-examination it was elicited from him that 
the party in question was a skilful whist-player. 
" And do you seriously consider, Dr. Gregory/' pro- 
ceeded the learned counsel, " that a person having 
a capacity for a game so difficult, and which requires 
memory, judgment, and combination, can be at the 
same time deranged ?" "I am no card-player," 
replied the Professor, "but I have read in history 
that cards were invented for the amusement of an 
insane king." 

A country farmer was examined before the Pres- 
bytery of Brechin, in the case of the Eev. John 
Gillanders, minister of Fearn, who was charged with 
intemperate habits. The lawyer who conducted the 
prosecution asked the farmer whether he had heard 
Mr. Gillanders acknowledge that he had been in the 
habit of drinking to excess. "I never heard him 
say that/' responded the farmer, adding with em- 
phasis, "but I have often heard him say that he 
was not." 

The writer was present at a meeting of the Pres- 
bytery of Meigle, when a case in which a parochial 
schoolmaster was charged with drunkenness was tried 
before the court. A provincial lawyer of considerable 
eminence conducted the prosecution. A lad was 
placed in the witness-box who had some years before 
attended the school of the accused. The examination 
proceeded thus : — 


Lawyer. When you attended Mr. C.'s school, did 
yon remark that he had a habit of frequently pro- 
ceeding to a small closet which opened from the 
schoolroom ? 

Witness. I did. 

L. Did he very frequently enter this closet ? 
W. I should say very frequently. 
L. Have you ever been in the closet ? 
W. I have. 

L. And did you remark what it contained ? 

W. I believe I can remember what I saw in it. 

L. Now will you tell the court what you saw 
in the closet ? 

W. There were a good many bottles in it arranged 
on shelves. 

L. Very good. And when Mr. C. repeatedly en- 
tered the closet, had you the curiosity to remark 
what he did when he was there ? 

W. I often joined the other boys in looking into 
the closet after the master. 

L. You did. And tell us now what you saw Mr. 
C. doing on these occasions. 

W. He was handling bottles. 

L. Handling bottles ; ay. And do you know 
what the bottles contained ? 
W. Yes. 

" What then did they contain ? " proceeded the 
prosecutor, as he resumed his seat with an air of 
relief and composure. 

u They were ink-bottles," said the witness. 



The sudden overturn of the prosecutor's hopes 
may be conceived. 

A shrewd shopkeeper in a central burgh, who de- 
sired to stand well with his customers, was examined 
as a witness in an action for libel. He had pri- 
vately assured the prosecution that he had heard the 
defendant use malicious language concerning the 
plaintiff. When placed in the witness-box he was 
asked, " Did you ever hear the defendant speak in a 
vituperative manner of the plaintiff ?" "I have," 
was the reply, " He did so in his ovm jocular 
way ! " 

Though as a nation the Scottish people are to 
be remarked for their integrity, there are occasional 
exemplifications in the courts of justice of aberrations 
from the strict path of truthfulness. The writer 
happened to be present in a Scottish court when a 
witness was examined in an important case, in which 
he was directly implicated. He was probably stating 
the truth ; but it was an awkward circumstance re- 
specting the aspects of his testimony, that he was 
guided in his answers by signs which were com- 
municated to him by his country solicitor, who sat 
before him in the court. 

In 1817 the Edinburgh Jury Court was occupied 
with a case between the burgh of Kirkcaldy and the 
trustees of the Kinghorn ferry. A witness gave evi- 
dence on behalf of the trustees of a very decided 
character. The counsel for the plaintiffs, having been 
informed that an agent of the trustees had presented 


the witness with a coat, sought to elicit the fact in 
a cross-examination. The examination proceeded 
thus : — 

Counsel. Pray, where did you get that coat ? 

The witness, looking obliquely down on the sleeve 
of his coat, and from thence to the counsel, ex- 
claimed, — " Coat ! coat, sir ! Whar got I that 
coat ? " 

C. I wish to know where you got that coat. 

Witness. Maybe ye ken whar I got it. 

C. "We wish to know from whom you got it ? 

W. Did ye gie me that coat ? 

C. Tell the jury where you got that coat. 

W. What's your business wi' that ? 

C. It is material that you tell the court where you 
got the coat. 

W. I'm no obliged to tell aboot ma coat. 

C. Do you not recollect whether you bought that 
coat, or whether it was given to you ? 

W. I canna recollect everything aboot ma coats; 
whan I got them, or whar I got them. 

G. You said you remembered perfectly well about 
the boats forty-two years ago, and the people that 
lived in Kirkcaldy then, and John Marr's boat ; and 
can you not recollect where you got that coat you 
have on at present ? 

W. I'm no gaun to say onything aboot coats. 

C. Did Mr. Douglas, clerk to the trustees, give 
you that coat ? 

W. I didna get the coat to do onything wrang 


for't; I didna engage to say onything that wasna 

As the witness was leaving the box, the Lord 
Chief Commissioner called him back and observed, 
" The court wish to know from you something further 
about this coat. It is not believed or suspected that 
you got it improperly or dishonestly, or that there is 
any reason for your concealing it. You may have 
been disinclined to speak about it, thinking there 
was something of insult or reproach in the question 
put from the bar. You must be sensible that the 
bench can have no such intention ; and it is for your 
credit, and the sake of your testimony, to disclose 
fairly where you got it There may be discredit in 
concealing, but none in telling where you got it. 
I ask then, where did you get the coat ? " 

W. I'm no obliged to tell aboot ma coat. 

Chief Commissioner. True; you are not obliged to 
tell where you got it, but it is for your own credit 
to tell. 

W. I didna come here to tell aboot coats ; but 
to tell aboot boats and pinnaces. 

C. C. If you do not tell I must throw aside your 
evidence altogether. 

W. I'm no gaun to say onything aboot ma coat ; 
I'm no obliged to say onything aboot it. 

The witness retired, but was afterwards recalled 
by Lord Gillies, and his examination was resumed. 

Lord Gillies. How long have you had that coat ? 

W. I dinna ken hoo lang I hae had ma coat. I 


hae plenty o' coats. I dinna mind aboot this coat 
or that coat. 

L, G. Do you remember anything near the time ? 
have you had it a year, a month, a week ? Have 
you had it a week ? 

W. Hoot aye ; I daresay I may. 

L. G. Have you had it a month ? 

W. I dinna ken ; I cam here to speak aboot boats 
and no aboot coats. 

L. G. Did you buy the coat ? 

W. I dinna mind what coat I bought or what coat 
I got. 

The witness puzzled the court, but his evidence 
was rejected. 

" I've gained my cause," said a litigant exultingly, 
on retiring from the court-room. " Indeed," said his 
friend, " I did not expect that it would have been 
decided so soon." " Oh, it's not just decided," re- 
joined the litigant, " but it's put upon my oath." The 
jubilation was suspicious. 

A country farmer applied to a country solicitor 
for advice. Having related the circumstances of the 
case, the practitioner remarked that he hoped he had 
been careful in his statement of the facts, as they 
actually occurred. " Ou aye," said the farmer, " I 
thocht it better to tell you the plain truth ; you can 
put the lees till't yoursel." 

The delay which occurs in Scottish law courts in 
the conduct of civil causes is most inimical to the 
ends of justice where oral testimony is concerned. 


The principal parties in a cause may preserve a dis- 
tinct recollection of particulars in which they are 
individually interested; but persons who are incidental 
spectators or auditors cannot be expected to retain a 
minute and lively recollection of events in which 
they may only possess a remote or passing interest. 
In an action in the supreme court, connected with 
events which had taken place about two years pre- 
viously, the writer was distressed to remark that of 
two clergymen examined as witnesses, one empha- 
tically contradicted the other in respect of certain 
occurrences enacted when both were present and 
both were actors. 

An ingenious Scotsman, author of some standard 
novels, was, many years after their publication, and 
at a somewhat advanced age, a witness in one of the 
law courts. A learned counsel in the cause remarked 
to the witness that he believed he had composed some 
works of fiction. The witness responded in the ne- 
gative, adding that he had only written sketches of 
real life, in which all the characters were introduced 
by their names. In one of his prefaces the accom- 
plished author had disclaimed the idea that he had 
in real life found any one resembling certain of his 
characters, and asserted that one of them in par- 
ticular was purely imaginary. 

Criminals are generally frank in confessing the 
truth to those who have undertaken their defence. 
The writer was present at a criminal trial, when the 
impressive eloquence of his counsel drew from the 


prisoner an unwitting acknowledgment of his crime. 
The prisoner, a lad of eighteen, was accused of 
plundering the contents of a gentleman's pocket. 
By the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution 
the prisoner was entirely unmoved. He was equally 
unconcerned by the address of the prosecutor, which 
demonstrated his guilt. When his own counsel, 
however stood up, he leaned forward in the dock, and 
listened most eagerly. " If this young man had 
taken the money," proceeded the learned counsel, 
" where, I ask, would he have placed it ? Not in his 
pockets, for they were likely first to be examined. 
Not in his shoes, for these, too, were sure to be in- 
spected. I say, gentlemen of the jury, where was 
this lad likely to place the money ? " The counsel 
made a short pause, when the prisoner, fearing that 
his defender was actually at a loss, exclaimed, "J 
put it in here, sir," pointing to his bosom. 

In the times of feudal jurisdiction, the principal 
landowners were " Lords of Eegality," and so exer- 
cised the power of inflicting capital sentences on 
those who resided on their estates. Any one who 
was sentenced by the laird to suffer death was, how- 
ever precious his life might be to his family, readily 
resigned to the executioner. A young Highlander, 
condemned by the Laird of Grant for sheep-stealing, 
was reluctant to mount the fatal drop. The execu- 
tioner having failed to induce him to ascend, that 
functionary called on the wife of the condemned to 
render her assistance. The woman went up to her 


husband, tapped him gently on the shoulder, and said 
coaxingly, " Xoo, Donald, gang awa up, and be 
hangit like a shentleinan,* and no anger the laird." 

Mr. William Eoger, great-grandfather of the writer, 
•was a county magistrate of Perthshire. He had on 
some occasion displayed leniency towards John Gunn, 
the noted freebooter. Xot long after, at a market 
held at Coupar- Angus, a female cottar of Mr. Roger 
sold her cow, the price of which, about four pounds, 
she rolled in her handkerchief, which she deposited 
in her pocket. Gunn's men were on the alert, and 
very soon after the handkerchief was gone. In great 
distress, the poor woman informed Mr, Roger of her 
mishap, who immediately ascertained that Gunn was 
present in the market. Accompanied by the woman, 
he sought out the freebooter, to whom he related 
the story of her loss. The leader of banditti blew 
a small whistle, which immediately secured the 
presence of his gang. He parleyed with one or two 
of the number, and then produced the handkerchief 
with the money. " Any other little favour I can do 
you, Mr. Roger, shall be done," said the bandit. 
Gunn was afterwards hanged. 

The municipal system permits many persons to 
attain magisterial rank who are scarcely qualified to 
sustain the dignity. Provost Anderson of Stirling 
was so elated with his honours as chief magistrate 
of his native town, that he became the hero of the 
most whimsical extravagances. He was most ambi- 

* Gentleman. 


tious of dying in office, that he might obtain a public 
funeral — and actually got up a programme of the 
ceremonial to be observed on the occasion. " It is," 
said the provost, " most excellently planned, and so 
gratifying to think that I will be the principal person 
on the occasion." 

Municipal dignitaries have occasionally got hard 
hits. An elderly woman in Dundee, who made her 
living by selling fruit, received a visit from the pro- 
vost, who stated that he had received complaints as 
to orange peel being thrown on the pavement near 
her shop. The woman expressed her regret that her 
customers should be so careless of the public safety ; 
but quaintly added, "Deed, provost, I've often re- 
marked that the streets were never sae weel keepit, 
as when your grandfather sweepit them." The 
grandsire of the chief magistrate was a scavenger. 

Civic functionaries are disposed to resist any in- 
terference with their dignity. A public entertain- 
ment was given by the citizens of Aberdeen to the 
celebrated Lord Melville shortly after the honour- 
able termination of his state trial. Deacon Webster, 
who was present, desirous of testifying his personal 
respect for his lordship, said aloud to him across the 
table, " I was unco gled to hear ye war acquitted." 
The intended compliment having failed to elicit any 
observation from the noble guest, the deacon was 
repeating the remark in a louder tone. Mr. Crombie, 
of Phaesdo, advocate, who sat near the loquacious 
deacon, mildly remonstrated with him on the inju- 


diciousness of his speech. "An' do you, sir," 
said the deacon, "presume to teach me what is 
proper ? Many a time your father has shaved me for 
a farthing." The elder Crombie was a hairdresser 
and barber. When a number of persons came into 
his shop to be shaved, it was his practice to arrange 
them in a row, placing a towel round each and 
soaping them, so that they were obliged to remain 
till the shaving process was completed. 

A bailie having imposed a fine of ten shillings on 
a familiar friend for a drunken brawl, the offender 
remonstrated, saying, " You are surely not in earnest, 
bailie." On this pleading the bailie so far relented 
as to reduce the fine to five shillings. Still the 
persistent culprit pled for leniency. It was reduced 
to half a crown. Another effort was made, and at 
last the fine was made one shilling, with the remark, 
which shut up the pleading, " As sure as death, John, 
though you were my very born brither, I could not 
make it less." 

There is extant a bond by the magistrates of Perth 
to the Earl of Perth, agreeing, on getting the loan of 
his lordship's hangman from Crieff, that he would 
under a heavy penalty be safely sent back, so " as to 
serve his lordship's friends." 

A magistrate of a western burgh who was fond of 
using learned words, was at a dinner in the mansion 
of a nobleman. By the peer he was asked his 
opinion of the wines which were served. The 
answer startled the company when the bailie replied, 


" My lord, I'm no accoucheur" He probably meant 

Rutherglen, under the old system of burgh election, 
was united with Glasgow, Dumbarton, and Renfrew, 
to return one member of parliament. In case of 
equality the burghs in rotation had a casting vote as 
returning burgh. On the occasion of a contested 
election Eutherglen was the returning burgh, and 
therefore the votes of the deacons, who as such were 
town councillors, were of great value. The friends of 
the two candidates from Glasgow kept up for weeks a 
system of continual feasting. The election being 
over, the deacon of the weavers returned to his 
humble diet of porridge and milk. Recollecting the 
slang of his late retainers he irefully ordered his 
wife to remove the milk, declaring the same to he 



" A m on arch's crown, 
Golden in show, is but a crown of thorns ; 
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights, 
To him who wears the regal diadem." 


" Then happy low, lie down, 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." 


Queen Margaret Atheling, wife of Malcolm Can- 
more and niece of Edward the Confessor, was one 
of the most pious of royal princesses. She retained 
the services of a private chaplain, who conducted 
divine worship daily in her royal household. An 
illuminated missal lay on the table of her boudoir, 
and its pages bore marks of her frequent use. To 
her little private oratory she frequently retired for 
the purposes of devotion. She built many hospitals 
for the infirm and aged. Among a number of orphans 
she dispensed provisions every morning ; and every 
evening she personally ministered to the sick. She 
introduced the manufacturing arts, and personally 
illustrated the benefits of a life of industry. Queen 


Margaret died at the age of forty - seven. Her 
remains were at the Eeformation borne from their 
resting-place at Dunfermline, and deposited in a 
chapel built for their reception, by Philip II. of 
Spain, in the palace of the Escurial. 

In the beginning of the fifteenth century two ex- 
traordinary events were enacted at the Scottish and 
English courts. The rightful monarch of each 
country was detained a captive at the court of the 
other. The detention of James I. at the court of 
Henry IV. is matter of well-known history, but 
Mr. Tytler * was the first to establish that Eichard 
II. was similarly detained in Scotland. It is com- 
monly believed that Eichard perished in Pontefract 
Castle. This, Mr. Tytler has shown, did not occur. 
He contrived to escape from his imprisonment at 
Pontefract, and found his way to the Western Isles, 
where he was recognized in the disguise of a harper, 
and brought to the court of Eobert III. By Eobert, 
and afterwards by his brother the Eegent Albany, he 
was kept at Stirling, and entertained in a style be- 
coming his rank. He died at Stirling Castle, in 
1419, and was interred in the Dominican monastery 
of the place. The Latin inscription which adorned 
his tomb is included in the " Extracts from the 
Scottish Chronicles," printed for the Maitland Club. 
Eeferring to these remarkable captivities, Mr. Tytler 
observes that Henry IV. and the Duke of Albany 
" played off their two royal prisoners against each 

* Tytler's " History of Scotland," vol. iv., p. 12. Edinburgh, 1831. 



other." After the death of Albany, James I. regained 
his liberty. His first act of government was to pro- 
cure the condemnation and execution of the son and 
other near relatives of the usurper of his throne. 
They were beloved by the people, who wept aloud 
when they were decapitated. A series of hillocks, 
at Stirling, from which the populace witnessed the 
executions, still bear the name of the Gowling or 
weeping hills. 

The first reigning members of the House of Stuart 
were weak princes. James I. profited exceedingly 
by his long detention at the English court. He 
became a master of accomplishments, an intel- 
ligent ruler, and a firm though somewhat severe 
dispenser of justice. He was the inventor of Scot- 
tish music. He promoted the amenities of life. 
He found his subjects plundered by a set of 
lawless persons, who subsisted by spoliation. In 
order to suppress their practices he caused purses of 
gold to be suspended on trees by the highways, 
and watchers to be set in the vicinity. Just as a 
purse was cut down by a vagabond thief, he him- 
self was forthwith suspended in its place. 

Another method adopted by James I. to discover 
the condition of his subjects was that of moving about 
among them in disguise. He commonly assumed the 
costume of " a gudeman " or inferior yeoman. Pro- 
ceeding on foot in this attire between Edinburgh 
and Linlithgow, he was assailed near Cramond 
Bridge by a band of gipsies. He defended himself 


with his accustomed valour, but was at length over- 
powered. Just as he had been smitten down, a 
farmer, familiarly called Jock Howison, and his son, 
who were thrashing in a barn not far off, hearing the 
noise, proceeded to the scene of action. Finding 
one man ruthlessly assailed by so many, they dealt 
about their flails among the gipsies so vigorously as 
to put them to flight. Howison raised the wounded 
stranger, and conducting him to his cottage, handed 
him a basin and towel that he might wash, and fur- 
nished him with other means of refreshment. When 
the stranger removed his cloak, the farmer perceived 
that he was a person of the better sort, and offered 
him a seat at the head of the board. This was at 
first declined ; but Howison persisted, saying, " Do as 
I tell ye, for I'm maister here." Before leaving, the 
stranger heartily thanked his benefactor, and, inform- 
ing him that he lived in Edinburgh Castle, said he 
would be glad to see him there. Howison replied 
that he would be particularly pleased to see the 
castle, and promised soon to avail himself of the 
stranger's invitation. " Wha shall I speir * for when 
I come ? " said the farmer. " Yell ask for ane James 
Stuart," said the stranger, " and they'll bring ye to 
me at once." 

After a few weeks Howison presented himself at 
Edinburgh Castle. He was ushered into an assembly 
of the nobles, among whom was his former guest, who 
saluted him cordially. Howison asked whether the 
king was present. " He is here now," answered his 

* Enquire. 


friend. " Where ? " said Howison ; " how will I ken 
him ? " " Why/' said the supposed " gudeman," he 
is the only one present who keeps his hat on." 
u Then," said Howison, looking round on the com- 
pany, "he maun be either you or me!" The king 
smiled, and said that he was James Stuart, who wore 
the crown, and assured him that the good service 
rendered him should not be forgotten. His Majesty 
next requested Howison to name any boon he might 
desire. " The lairdship o' my farm o' Braehead," 
said the farmer, with alacrity. " The lands are yours," 
said the king ; " and I couple the gift with this pro- 
viso, that you and your representatives shall bring a 
basin of water and a towel to wash the king's hands 
every time he passes Cramond Brig. The monarch 
invited the honest farmer to dinner, and called on 
him to sit beside him. As Howison hesitated to 
accept the honoured seat, the king gave him a sharp 
slap on the shoulder, adding, " Do as I tell ye, for I'm 
maister here." 

Mr. William Howison Crawfurd, of Braehead 
and Crawfurdland, did service to George IV., in 1822, 
in fulfilment of the stipulation under which his an- 
cestor received his lands. At the grand civic ban- 
quet in the Parliament House, after the different 
courses had been served, the heir of Jock Howison, 
attended by the son and nephew of Sir Walter Scott, 
as pages, dressed in crimson and white satin, ap- 
proached the king with a basin and ewer of silver, for 
his Majesty to wash his hands. In offering the basin 


Mr. Howison Crawfurd knelt down, and the king 
acknowledged the service with his accustomed gra- 
ciousness. The rose-water used on the occasion has 
been hermetically sealed up, and the towel which 
dried his Majesty's hands has never been used for 
any other purpose. 

James II. was oppressed by the haughty assump- 
tions and rebellious practices of his nobles. Their 
combined opposition was so formidable that on one 
occasion he lost heart. He called for James 
Kennedy, the shrewd Bishop of St. Andrews, and 
asked him to suggest some method of securing his 
prerogative. The bishop produced a bunch of 
arrows. Handing an arrow to the king, he asked 
him whether he could break it. " Easily," said the 
king, who, suiting the action to the word, snapped 
it on his knee. The bishop next presented a 
bundle of arrows to his Majesty, and inquired 
whether he could snap these. " I certainly cannot," 
said the monarch. "When your enemies remain 
banded together," rejoined the prelate, "your Majesty 
cannot subdue them; let them be detached, and 
each one will be broken as readily as the arrow." 
James returned to his palace, and contrived to 
follow the counsel of the ingenious prelate. 

The union of the crowns of England and Scot- 
land sprung from the marriage of James IV. with 
Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. The 
event was preceded by an occurrence connected 
with the personal history of the royal bridegroom, 


which is very imperfectly set forth by the ordinary 

Three plain blue marble slabs in Dunblane 
cathedral, one paving the choir, and the two others 
resting at its entrance, were placed in this ancient 
church to protect the remains of the three daughters 
of John, first Lord Drummond — Margaret, Euphemia, 
and Sybella, — who were there interred. These ladies, 
of whom the second, Euphemia, was married to Lord 
Fleming, died in their father's house of Drummond 
Castle, in 1502, from the effects of poison. The 
object of the poisoners was to accomplish the death 
of Margaret, the eldest daughter, consequent on her 
being betrothed to the young king, James IV. When 
Duke of Eothesay, and believed by his royal father 
to be strictly confined within the precincts of Stir- 
ling Castle, he was making love pastimes with fair 
Margaret Drummond in her father's bowers of 
Stobhall. He had met the young lady when she 
attended court as one of the maids of honour of his 
mother ; and a fine melody, entitled " Tay's Banks," 
is said to have been composed by him in honour of her 
charms. A few lines of the song have been presented 
by Miss Strickland. We modernize the spelling : — 

" The river through the rocks rushed out 

Through roses raised on high ; 
The shene birds full sweet 'gan shout 

Forth that seemly shaw. 
Joy was within, and joy without, 
When Tay ran down with streames stout 

Right under Stobbeshaw." 


On the demise of his father, and his accession to 
the throne, James betrothed himself to the object 
of his early love. As the parties were related 
within the degrees prohibited by the Church, the 
solemnization of the marriage was deferred till the 
requisite dispensation should be obtained from the 
Pope. But the members of the Privy Council 
were opposed to the connection, and entreated 
their sovereign to contract a union which might 
promote a permanent alliance with England. He 
pretended to yield to their remonstrances, and 
actually formed a matrimonial contract with the 
Princess Margaret, while he was privately nego- 
tiating with Rome regarding his proposed marriage 
with fair Margaret Drummond. Tidings of the 
monarch's secret determination to wed the lady 
whom he heartily loved having been propagated, 
it was resolved by the ruthless nobility that she 
should perish. She was cut off, with her sisters, 
by poison being mixed in her morning meal. The 
king was long inconsolable. He pensioned two 
priests to celebrate mass for the soul of his intended 
spouse. After waiting a year, he married the Eng- 
lish princess. Their great-grandson ascended the 
British throne. 

James V. acquired his popular title of "King o' 
the Commons" by the frequency with which, in 
disguise, he associated with the humbler classes. 
Sometimes he appeared as a " Gaberlunzie," or 
beggar, carrying a wallet. In reference to this 


disguise, he is believed to have composed the " Jollie 
Beggar" and the " Gaberlunzie Man/' two popular 
songs. " The Wife of Auchtermuchty," an amusing 
ballad, has also been ascribed to him. James com- 
monly took the disguise of a gudeman, a character 
which he was well qualified to sustain. When re- 
sident at Stirling, he left the castle in disguise by a 
small postern at the Ballengeich Pass ; from this 
arose the designation which he assumed of " Gude- 
man of Ballengeich." 

In one of his rambles from Stirling, James was 
benighted at the base of the Ochil hills, near Alloa. 
He sought shelter in the cottage of John Donaldson, a 
small farmer. Though ignorant that his visitor was 
a person of quality, Donaldson gave him a kindly 
reception, and desired the gudewife to fetch for the 
stranger's supper the hen that roosted nearest to the 
cock, which, he said, was always the plumpest. The 
king, who was highly pleased with his entertainment, 
wished Donaldson to visit him in Stirling Castle, 
saying that he was known there as the " Gudeman o' 
Ballengeich." Like Jock Howison, the gudeman of 
the Ochil farm found his way to the royal presence, 
and was amazed to discover that he had entertained the 
king. His Majesty called him " king o' the muirs," 
and gave him a grant of his farm in reward for his 
evening's hospitality. The farm was retained by the 
family till a recent period. On the death of John 
Donaldson, the last " king o' the muirs," about forty 
years ago, the chair in which the king sat was pur- 


chased for the Crown, and deposited in Stirling Castle. 
When Queen Victoria visited the Castle, in 1842, Sir 
Archibald Christie, the governor, exhibited the chair 
to her Majesty, briefly detailing these particulars of 
its history. 

From Falkland Palace James often sauntered 
about the adjoining district in his favourite disguise. 
One evening he experienced hospitality from the 
miller of Ballomill, a place on the north bank of the 
Eden, near Crawford Priory. On parting with his 
entertainer he said he would be glad to see him at 
Falkland. "Jist gang to the palace yett,* and 
ask for the gudeman o' Ballengeich, an' Pse come 
t'ye." The miller found his way to the royal resi- 
dence, and was duly welcomed. The king revealed 
himself at once, and insisted that the miller, who 
was very athletic, should engage with himself and his 
nobles in various muscular feats, such as " tossing the 
caber " and " putting the stone." The miller remained 
some days at the palace. At first he beat all the 
courtiers in the athletic exercises, but he afterwards 
lost strength, and was occasionally overcome. The 
king perceived that the dainty food of the royal table 
did not suit the millers constitution, and so asked 
him on what he usually lived. He replied that his 
fare was " broken water and slain meal." "Then," 
said the king, " that you may always have plenty of 
both, you shall have a portion of the land of Ballo- 
mill. Whether," proceeded the king, " will you take 

* Gate. 


the aught part or the twa part of the land?" The 
miller was less of an arithmetician than an athlete, 
so, according to the story, he chose the eighth part 
of the land, which in his view seemed the better part 
of the alternative. 

The king was, as gudeman, on a visit to the hamlet 
of Markinch. To obtain some refreshment he 
stepped into the village inn. The landlady informed 
him that the ben-house, or stranger's apartment, was 
engaged by the parish priest and the village school- 
master, but she supposed they would allow him to 
join them. He was received readily, and caroused 
w r ith his new acquaintances for several hours. "When 
the reckoning came to be paid, the schoolmaster pro- 
posed that the priest should join him in paying the 
strangers share. The priest objected, remarking that 
" the birkie should pay higglety-pigglety with them- 
selves." So the disguised monarch paid his share. 
As they separated the stranger thanked the school- 
master for his intended generosity, and added, " I 
shall make your living higglety-pigglety with the 
priest's ; I am the king." 

Some time after, the king, who had conceived a 
strong aversion to the priest, called him to his pre- 
sence. " I understand," said the monarch, " you are 
proud of your learning. I am to propose to you four 
questions, and if you cannot answer them within 
four days you shall no longer retain the living of 

Returning home the priest found that the ques- 


tions were of a most puzzling character. Utterly 
perplexed, he proceeded to seek counsel from the 
miller of the Middle Mill, on the Leven, a person 
greatly reputed for his sagacity. 

The miller offered to personate the priest at the 
palace, and to bring him out of his difficulty. The 
impersonation was rendered easy from a natural 
resemblance which subsisted between the miller and 
the ecclesiastic. At the appointed time the miller, in 
clerical attire, presented himself before the king, and 
undertook to answer the royal queries. " Where is 
the middle of the earth ? " said the monarch. " Just 
here/' responded the miller, beating the ground with 
his staff; "if your Majesty will measure all round, 
you will find that it is just at this spot." "Ay," 
said the king, " that may do. How long will I take 
to go round the world ? " " Twenty-four hours," said 
the miller, " if you rise with the sun, and travel with 
him all the day." " Not so bad," said the king. 
"Now can you tell me how much I am worth?" 
* Twenty-nine pieces of silver," said the miller ; " our 
Saviour was valued at thirty, and you cannot be 
worth more." "Very ingenious," exclaimed the 
king. " Now for the last question. What am I 
thinking?" "You are thinking," replied the miller, 
" that I am priest of Markinch, but I am only 
miller of the Middle Mill." " Well," said the king, 
"you're a clever fellow, and should be the priest. 
But your answers have saved your friend." 

Many highway robberies had been committed in 


the neighbourhood of Falkland, the perpetrators 
always contriving to escape detection. Suspicion 
rested on the four sons of a person named Seaton, 
who lived in the castle of Clatto, about four miles 
east of the palace. The king was riding in that 
neighbourhood in his disguise as a gudeman, when 
a stout young man seized his horse by the bridle, 
and demanded his purse. With a small sword the 
rider chopped off the hand of the assailant, who 
instantly betook himself to flight. Next day the 
king, attended by his nobles, visited Seaton in his 
castle. He asked for all his sons, and was informed 
that one was ill and in bed. Expressing a desire to 
see the invalid, he was conducted to the sick cham- 
ber. The king offered to shake hands with the ailing 
man. Young Seaton held out his left hand, and 
proceeded to explain that he had by an accident 
been deprived of the other. " I have a hand in my 
pocket/' said the monarch ; " perhaps it may suit 
you." The king blew his bugle-horn, and his attend- 
ants took possession of the castle and its inmates. A 
gibbet was erected, and Seaton and his sons were 

James was on one occasion overpowered in a 
scuffle with three gipsies, who took him prisoner, 
and compelled him to lead their ass, and otherwise 
minister to their wants. As they were drinking in 
a public-house in Milnathort, James contrived to 
despatch a messenger to Falkland Palace, to inform 
his nobles of his detention. In the course of a few 


hours an armed body, led on by some of the cour- 
tiers, surrounded the gipsy encampment, and liber- 
ated the monarch. Two of the gipsies were hanged. 

James VI. was the only coward in his illustrious 
house. His intense apprehension of personal danger 
has been ascribed to the alarm sustained by his 
mother on the murder of Eizzio, some time previous 
to his birth. The affair of the Gowrie conspiracy 
no doubt increased his weakness. Desirous of 
inspecting a coal mine, he accepted an invitation 
from Sir George Bruce, of Culross Abbey, to visit 
the extensive mines on his estate. The coal on the 
Culross property was then wrought under the sea, 
and was brought out for shipment at a moat within 
sea mark. To this moat James being suddenly 
conducted from the chambers of the mine, the idea 
of treachery took sudden possession of his mind, and 
he lustily bawled out, " Treason ! " Sir George suc- 
ceeded in allaying the royal fears by pointing to an 
elegant pinnace, which he had provided to convey 
his august visitor to the shore. 

In 1617, James VI. visited Scotland for the second 
time since his accession to the English throne. He 
invited the Edinburgh professors to meet him in the 
Chapel Eoyal of Stirling Castle, in presence of many 
of the English and Scottish nobility. Several subjects 
were debated before him, after the manner of the 
times. After supper the king sent for the dis- 
putants, whose names were John Adamson, James 
Fairlie, Patrick Sands, Andrew Young, James Eeid, 


and William King. He then proceeded to compli- 
ment them in these words : — 

" Adam was the father of all, and Adam's son had 
the first part of this act. The defender is justly- 
called Fairlie ; his theme had some fairlies * in 
it, and he sustained them very fairly, and with 
many fair lies given to the oppugners. And why 
should not Mr. Sands he the first to enter the sands ? 
But now I clearly see that all sands are not barren, 
for certainly he hath shown a fertile wit. Mr. Young 
is very old in Aristotle. Mr. Eeid need not be 
red with blushing for his acting this day. Mr. King 
disputed very kingly, and of a kingly purpose con- 
cerning the royal supremacy of reason above anger 
and all passions." The monarch added that the 
College of Edinburgh, to which they belonged, should 
henceforth be called Hie College of King James. 

The interesting traditions which lingered among 
the people respecting the homely ways of the old 
sovereigns conduced towards the insurrectionary 
movements of 1715 and 1745. The first insurrection 
was considerably checked by the appearance of the 
Chevalier de St. George, which did not justify the 
sanguine hopes of his adherents. But Prince Charles 
Edward, when he appeared, in 1745, caused the unin- 
viting aspects of his sire to be forgotten. His fine 
manly form was the admiration even of those who 
denied his claims. Highland dames and damsels 
strove to kiss his hand. Many gentlewomen carried 

* Wonders. 


miniatures of the young adventurer in their bosoms. 
Lady Anadowal and Miss Flora Macdonald caused 
sheets in which he had slept to be constantly carried 
with them in their journey ings, that they might not 
lose the opportunity of being buried in their folds. 

When George IV. visited Scotland, in 1822, all 
classes were equally enthusiastic in yielding him a 
proper reception. The Highlanders regarded him as 
their lawful king, since the Stuart line had failed. 
Some of the English nobility entertained apprehen- 
sions respecting the loyalty of the Gael — and a 
gallant colonel, on their behalf, suggested to Sir 
Walter Scott that it might be prudent that the 
Highland guard at Holyrood should remove the 
flints from their pistols. Sir Walter invited the 
Colonel to meet a number of the Highland chiefs 
at his house at dinner, which he suggested might be 
a favourable opportunity for introducing the subject 
of the flints. The evening was spent amidst the most 
enthusiastic manifestations of loyalty. When the pro- 
ceedings had considerably advanced, Sir Walter said 
to the colonel, "Will you now speak about the 
flints ? " " It would be utter madness," replied the 
colonel ; " the men are loyal to the backbone." 

The loyalty was exuberant. It was whispered 
that the king, like some of his royal predecessors, 
occasionally moved about incognito — a rumour much 
to the inconvenience of those stout burly gentlemen 
who appeared in the thoroughfares, these being 
constantly cheered and jostled as disguised sove- 


reigns. One portly yeoman, who considerably re- 
sembled the monarch, was pounced upon as veri- 
table Majesty, and the more he attempted to protest 
that he was not, the huzzas became the louder. At 
length, when fairly driven into a corner by the popu- 
lace, he shouted at the pitch of his voice, " Upon my 
honour I'm no king — not even a baronet or a knight, 
but a plain man just as any of yourselves." 

Sir Walter Scott, who was received into the royal 
presence before the king had left his ship, was so 
overwhelmed by the honour of having his health 
drunk by the monarch, that he begged the wine- 
glass from his Majesty, that it might be preserved 
in his family. When the glass was accidentally 
broken, the great minstrel regarded the occurrence 
as a personal affliction. 

In congratulating his Majesty on his arrival, 
the chief magistrate of Leith eloquently conveyed 
the sentiments of assembled thousands as he said, 
" I feel an elevation of mind which is inexpressible, 
in bidding welcome to Scotland the descendant of 
more than a hundred of her kings." 

An Edinburgh advocate had some time before been 
presented to the king at St. James's Palace. In the 
confusion of the hour he forgot the usual act of fealty, 
and took hold of the royal hand, which he shook with 
Scottish cordiality. When the state levee was held 
at Holyrood, the advocate, who had undergone some 
ridicule on account of his former awkwardness, knelt 
down and saluted the royal hand in the customary 


manner. He was passing on, when the king recog- 
nizing him said, " Stop, friend. I always part with 
my old acquaintances as I meet with them." The 
king then seized the gentleman by the hand and gave 
liim a hearty shake. 

The king took occasion to express the extreme 
gratification he had experienced by his reception in 
the Scottish capital. " I had been accustomed," he 
said, " to regard the Scots as a loyal race — an inde- 
pendent people, but now I perceive that they are a 
nation of gentlemen." 

Our present gracious Sovereign has been so long 
accustomed to reside during a portion of the year in 
the Highlands, that the enthusiasm which attended 
her Majesty's first visit in 1842 has subsided into 
quiet and respectful greetings. To the occupants of 
the Balmoral estate the Queen has endeared herself 
by many acts of condescension and kindness. She 
has manifested a personal concern in their welfare, 
has sat familiarly by their firesides, and paid visits to 
them in their afflictions. Some years ago, Mr. 
Mackenzie, farmer, Ardoch, had been severely indis- 
posed for a period of six months. The Queen sent 
word that she proposed to visit him in his sick 
chamber next day, and expressed a hope that he 
would not be annoyed by the intention. The visit 
was paid, and on the following day her Majesty de- 
spatched a messenger to Mr. Mackenzie's dwelling to 
inquire how he was, lest her visit had in any manner 
disturbed him. 



The Queen was seated at the fireside of a cottar 
wife. The broth-pot was simmering on the fire. Her 
Majesty was informed by the honest housewife that 
she was preparing her broth. " And what is broth 
made of?" asked the Queen. " There's beef intilt,"* 
answered the gudewife, " and there's neeps intilt, and 
there's carrots intilt, and there's barley intilt." " But 
what's intilt ?" said her Majesty. " Just as I'm telling 
your Majesty, — there's carrots intilt, and neeps intilt, 

and " " Yes, I know all that very well," again 

interjected the Queen; "but what's intilt ? I don't 
know what that is." "Just precisely as I'm telling 
your Majesty. There's beef intilt, and there's barley 
intilt, and there's neeps intilt, and there's carrots 
intilt, and there's greens intilt." Her Majesty only 
ascertained the meaning of intilt on her return to 
the castle. 

There are some remarkable instances of regal per- 
sonages having sprung from Scottish families. The 
great-grandfather of her Majesty the Empress of the 
French was a landless baronet in Dumfriesshire. 
Miss Charlotte Paterson of New York, granddaughter 
of Eobert Paterson, the Dumfriesshire stonemason, 
prototype of " Old Mortality," was the first wife of 
Jerome Bonaparte, ex-King of Westphalia, younger 
brother of the Emperor Napoleon. 

The daughter of a plain family named Nelson, re- 
siding in St. Ninians, Stirlingshire, was the late Sul- 
tana of the Crimea. Miss Gloag, daughter of the 
* Into it. 


blacksmith of Mill o' Steps, a small hamlet near 
Muthill, had an adventurous history, terminating in 
royal honours. Her father, after being many years a 
widower, contracted a second marriage. His daughter, 
who had attained her sixteenth year, was unkindly 
treated by her stepmother. At that period, about a 
century ago, many Scottish maidens emigrated to 
America. Miss Gloag joined several others, and em- 
barked in an emigrant ship bound for some port on 
the American coast ; but evil fortune seemed to pur- 
sue her. The vessel was seized by African pirates, 
and the passengers and crew were carried to Morocco 
and there sold as slaves. Miss Gloag was purchased 
by the Emperor, who admitted her into his harem. 
At length she became Empress. She corresponded 
regularly with her humble relatives in Scotland. 
About the beginning of the century, two sons of the 
late Emperor of Morocco applied to the British 
Government for protection against the pretensions of 
an ambitious relative, who aspired to their father's 
throne. They pled a claim for assistance on account 
of their mother being a British subject. The claim 
was admitted, and a fleet was being fitted out at Gib- 
raltar for their defence, when intelligence arrived that 
they had been secretly assassinated. 



' 1 Learned men oft greedily pursue 
Things that are rather wonderful than true, 
And in their nicest speculations choose 
To make their own discoveries strange news." 


When it does not proceed from an affectation of 
singularity or superiority, eccentricity may be traced 
to the preponderance of one faculty, or to habits 
of concentration respecting particular subjects of 
thought to the exclusion of all others. An eccentric 
person is the comet of the social circle; he moves 
in an orbit of his own, but, unlike the comet of the 
heavens, he occasionally impinges on the toes or the 
feelings of his neighbours. 

Henry David, fifth Earl of Buchan, was a most 
eccentric person. When Prince Charles Edward 
held court at Holyrood, in 1745, he formed a strong 
desire to obtain a private interview with the young 
adventurer without committing himself to his cause. 
In order that this might be carried out without 
compromise to his interests as an adherent of the 
reigning family, he asked his friend Lord Elcho, 


who had joined the insurrection, to effect his seizure 
at the cross, with a view to his being apparently 
dragged into the presence of the Prince. The cap- 
ture was negotiated, but the design failed, for 
Charles Edward declined to give audience to any 
one who would not pledge himself to his cause. 

Lord Buchan was succeeded, in 1767, by his 
eldest son, David Stuart, a person of even greater 
eccentricity than his father. He was extremely 
vain. " I belong to a talented family, madam," his 
lordship remarked to the witty Duchess of Gordon. 
" Yes," responded the Duchess, " and I suppose the 
talent has come from the mother, since it has been 
settled on the younger branches." The Duchess 
referred to the Hon. Henry Erskine, Dean of 
Faculty, and the Hon. Thomas, afterwards Lord 
Chancellor Erskine, who were the younger brothers 
of this pedantic nobleman. 

A most ridiculous story of the Earl is related by 
J. G. Lockhart. In 1819 Sir Walter Scott was very 
ill, confined to his bed in his house in Castle Street, 
Edinburgh. Though aware that all visitors were 
strictly prohibited, the Earl determined on seeing him. 
Pinding the knocker on the front door tied up, he 
descended to the area door, and, despite the remon- 
strances of the coachman, mounted up-stairs on his 
way to the invalid's bedchamber. Miss Scott met 
him and expostulated. It was useless. The Earl 
would proceed — must see Sir Walter. Meanwhile 
the coachman, who had again come upon the scene, 


gave his lordship a shove, and, with menacing ges- 
tures, indicated that any further intrusion would be 
resisted. The Earl reluctantly made his retreat. 
Sir Walter was informed of the adventure, and 
forthwith despatched James Ballantyne, who hap- 
pened to be with him, to explain matters, and so 
relieve his lordship's disappointment. Ballantyne 
found the Earl in his library in a state of great 
excitement. He had gone, he said, to embrace Sir 
Walter before he died, to remind him that they 
should rest together in the same burial-place, and to 
show him a plan of the funeral procession which he 
had prepared. In the programme it was specified 
that his lordship should pronounce an eloge over the 
remains of the departed minstrel when they had 
been lowered into their last resting-place. 

While nominally a patron of the arts and their 
cultivators, Lord Buchan was careful to avoid any 
draft on his finances. He was extremely penurious. 
A young portrait painter in the capital had been 
recommended to his notice, and was forthwith 
honoured with a commission to delineate his lord- 
ship on canvas. On the completion of the work, 
which was deemed quite satisfactory, the needy 
painter eagerly expected a handsome recompense. 
As none was forthcoming, he contrived, through a 
friend, to convey to the Earl a hint that he required 
the money. His lordship invited Jiim to break- 
fast. The youth accepted the invitation with 
delight. The meal being concluded, his lordship 


sauntered forth into Princes Street, and, taking the 
artist by the arm, proceeded to walk him up and 
down this public thoroughfare. At noon he remem- 
bered another engagement, and parted with his 
prot^g^, remarking to him as he moved off, "Your 
fortune is now as good as made, since you have been 
seen in Princes Street walking familiarly with the 
Earl of Enchant 

James Boswell, the biographer of Johnson, was 
extremely eccentric. He entertained the most over- 
weening idea of his own importance. The follow- 
ing are excerpts from his note-book : — 

"Boswell was presented to the Duke of Argyle 
at Whitton in the year 1760. The Duke talked 
some time with him and was pleased, and seemed 
surprised that Boswell wanted to have a commission 
in the Guards. His Grace took Boswell' s father 
aside and said, ' My lord, I like your son ; that boy 
must not be shot at for three and sixpence a day.' " 

" Boswell compared himself to the ancient Corin- 
thian brass. ' I am/ said he, ' a composition of an 
infinite variety of ingredients. I have been formed 
by a vast number of scenes of the most different 
natures, and I question if any uniform education 
could have produced a character so agreeable.' " 

" My freinds * are to me like the cinnamon tree, 
which produces nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon. Not 
only do I get wisdom and worth out of them, but 
amusement. I use them as the Chinese do their 

* So Boswell spelt the word. 


animals. Nothing is lost there. A very good dish 
is made of the poorest parts ; so I make the follies 
of my freinds serve for a dessert after their valuable 

" When Wilkes and I sat together, each glass of 
wine produced a flash of wit, like gunpowder thrown 
into the fire — puff ! puff ! " 

"Mons. D'Ankerville paid me the compliment 
that I was the man of genius who had the best 
heart he had ever known." 

Boswell was not unconscious of his foibles and 
weaknesses. His note-book contains the follow- 
ing :— 

" Boswell, who had a good deal of whim, used not 
only to form wild projects in his imagination, but 
would sometimes reduce them to practice. In his 
calm hours he said with great good humour, 1 There 
have been many people who built castles in the air, 
but I suppose I am the first that ever attempted to 
live in them/ " 

" Boswell complained that he had too good a 
memory in trifles, which prevented his remembering 
things of consequence. c My head/ said he, 1 is like 
a tavern in which a club of low punch-drinkers have 
taken up the room that might have been filled with 
lords that drink Burgundy; but it is not in the 
landlord's power to dispossess them/ " 

Captain Erskine complained that BoswelTs hand- 
writing was so large that his letters contained very 
little. " My lines," said Boswell, " are like my 


ideas, very irregular, and at a great distance from 
each other." 

Unlike the majority of egotists, Boswell could 
heartily enjoy a jest at his own expense. The 
most severe home-thrust never disturbed his com- 
placency. His note-book proceeds : — 

"Boswell was talking away one morning in St. 
James's Park with much vanity. Said his friend 
Temple, ' We have heard of many kinds of hobby- 
horses, but, Boswell, you ride upon yourself/ " 

" Boswell was one day complaining that he was 
sometimes dull. 'Yes, yes,' cried Lord Karnes, 
' Homer sometimes nods/ Boswell being too much 
elevated with this, my lord added, ' Indeed, sir, it is 
the only chance you have of resembling Homer/ " 

" Eather than borrow one half-guinea of Lord 

, I would borrow ten shillings of ten chairmen, 

and the odd sixpence of a shoe-black." 

On one occasion Boswell admits he lost his 
temper under the tongue of censure. His wife was 
the reprover. These are his words : — 

"When I was warm, talking of my own conse- 
quence and generosity, my wife made some cool, 
humbling remark upon me. I flew into a violent 
passion; I said, 'If you throw cold water upon 
a plate of iron much heated, it will crack into 
shivers/ " 

The good-natured egotist thus expresses his senti- 
ments respecting social meetings : — 

" I have not an ardent love for parties of pleasure, 


yet, am I once engaged in them, no man is more 
joyous. The difference between me and one who 
is the promoter of them is like that between a water- 
dog and an ordiuary dog. I have no instinct 
prompting me. I never go into the water of my 
own accord; but throw me in, and you will find 
that I swim excellently." 

Sir John Dinely, an English baronet, but asso- 
ciated with Scotland from a lengthened residence in 
the country, holds a first rank among members 
of the eccentric school. He was the last heir-male 
of an old family in the county of Worcester, de- 
scended on the female side from the royal House 
of Plantagenet. The family had gradually experi- 
enced reverses, and the means which accrued to Sir 
John on his succession in 1761 were very circum- 
scribed. These were soon entirely exhausted by his 
prodigality, so that in his state of indigence he will- 
ingly accepted the situation and emoluments of one 
of the Poor Knights of Windsor. He had originally 
studied medicine, and had attempted to practise as a 
physician, but he seems to have abandoned the tram- 
mels of a professional existence to betake himself 
to a career of Platonic gallantry. His days were 
spent in assiduous devotion to the fair sex, with a 
view to his being enabled to select a wife who should 
be the paragon of beauty, elegance, and worth. In 
order to achieve this grand aim, he pursued a course 
of eccentricity exceeded only by that of the ficti- 
tious knight of La Mancha. Not content with adver- 


tising from time to time in the English journals as 
to his admiration of the fair, and in terms of glowing 
enthusiasm soliciting the notice of ladies of every 
rank and age as candidates for his hand and affec- 
tions, he resided for a lengthened period of his life 
in different parts of the country, in quest of a fair 
object who might be found permanently worthy of 
his love. From various entries in the burgh records, 
it appears that after residing some time both in 
Edinburgh and Glasgow, he had come to Stirling 
in 1768, and purchased a house in the principal 
street. He had the house altered to suit his 
peculiar tastes; the roof was made flat, and a 
garden was laid out on its summit. A fish-pond in 
the centre was surrounded with a bordering of goose- 
berry bushes and some rare plants ; and from a walk 
encompassing the whole the eccentric baronet could 
amuse himself by looking on the gold-fish sporting 
in the basin, or on the fair passing down Broad 
Street. But the roof gave way from the superin- 
cumbent pressure, and Sir John, unable to repair 
it, had to dispose of the property about two 
years after he had acquired it. He left Stirling 
for a period, and his name first reappears in the 
records as having been subjected to pecuniary diffi- 
culties by the prosecution of a female to whom he 
had not fulfilled an alleged promise of marriage. In 
1778 he returned to Stirling, and as a burgess and 
guild brother, which he had been appointed in March, 
1768, he preferred a claim to be pensioned from the 


funds of Cowan's Hospital. The claim, owing to his 
poverty, was admitted, and the indigent baronet had 
paid to him half a crown weekly till the old term of 
Martinmas, 1792, when he surrendered his rights 
and left the place. In his transactions with the 
guildry he laid aside the use of his title, and assumed 
the name of John Baronet, by which designation he 
is generally entered in the registers, the qualifying 
expression, "or such person now so styled," being 
added to his assumed name in the property convey- 
ance. By several persons in Stirling Sir John is 
well remembered. Arrayed in a costume consisting 
of a velvet vest, satin breeches, and silk stockings, 
with a scarlet cloak thrown over to conceal their 
faded and tattered aspects, his feet generally pro- 
tected by a pair of high timber sandals, and his 
hat and wig secured to his head by a large cotton 
handkerchief tied under his chin, he sauntered 
about daily, paying his courteous devoir to every 
female who would good-humouredly address him. 
As none of the sex w r ere too young for his admira- 
tion, a train of very young Misses were not unfre- 
quently attending him, listening to his sighs and 
smiling at his foibles. He knew each beauty of the 
district by name, and kept a catalogue of them 
in which their names were entered according to his 
estimate of their charms. On leaving Stirling he 
returned to Windsor, where he indulged in his 
peculiar eccentricities till his death, at an advanced 
age, in May, 1808. Mr. Burke, in the " Anecdotes 



of the Aristocracy," allots a chapter to the eccentric 
baronet, and has recorded some of his oddities and 
advertisements. He lived entirely alone, dispensing 
with the assistance of a servant ; his chief haunts in 
London being the auction-rooms and pastry-shops, at 
the latter of which he made, in his advertisements, 
his assignations with the fair sex. He valued him- 
self much on his family connections and hereditary 
distinction, and estimated his fortune at £300,000, 
should he be able to recover it. Several of his 
advertisements for a wife are inserted in a work by 
Captain Grose, entitled, " A Guide to Health, Beauty, 
Eiches, and Honour." 

Francis Macnab, of Macnab, valued himself on 
being the chief of an ancient Highland clan. He 
therefore rejected the usual prefix of " Mr.,"* and 
desired to be known and addressed as "Macnab." 
A gentleman called on him one day at his residence 
in Edinburgh according to invitation, but inadvert- 
ently on asking if he was within used the objection- 
able prefix. The servant stated he would make 
inquiry, but soon returned to say that Mr. Macnab 
was not in the house. The visitor retired, though 
he was confident he had heard his friend's voice 
from an inner apartment. Bethinking himself, he 
went back and asked "if Macnab was at home?" 
The answer was in the affirmative, and the laird 
received him cordially. 

Macnab's education had been neglected. Some 
one ventured to remark on his inaccurate spelling in 


a document he was writing. He promptly replied, 
"Who could spell wf sic a pen ?" 

At the Leith races one year Macnab had the mis- 
fortune to lose his horse, which fell down dead. At 
the races of the year following, a young fellow, who 
had witnessed the catastrophe, said to the laird with 
flippant air, " Macnab, is that the same horse you 
had last year?" "No," said Macnab, "but this is 
the same whip," which he brandished as if about to 
apply it to the querist's shoulders. 

An amicable contest once existed for the chieftain- 
ship of the clan Macnab. One of the claimants was 
officially located in Canada. The other, being on a 
visit to the colony, was waited on by his rival, who 
left a large card, inscribed " The Macnab." Next 
day the visit was returned, and a card twice the size 
of the former left, inscribed, "The other Macnab." 

Maxton, the laird of Cultoquhey, in Strathearn, 
was one of the most eccentric of Scottish landowners. 
He was surrounded by four potent families, each of 
whom he conceived was anxious to appropriate his 
patrimonial acres. He prayed daily that he might 
be delivered — 

" From the greed of the Campbells, 
From the ire of the Drummonds, 
From the pride of the Grahams, 
And from the wind of the Murray s." 

The Duke of Atholl, who was the chief of the 
Murrays, having invited Cultoquhey to dinner, asked 
him to repeat his addition to the litany, believing 


that he would decline to do so in his presence. He 
was, however, mistaken, and the Duke demanded 
that he would promise to omit his name, otherwise 
he would crop his ears. " That's wind," said the 
undaunted laird ; an imperturbable reply, which re- 
stored the Duke to his equanimity. 

Francis Semple, the ingenious author of " Maggie 
Lauder," and other popular songs, was possessed 
of considerable eccentricity and humour. From his 
residence at Beltrees, Renfrewshire, he proceeded 
to Glasgow, some time in 1651, there to visit, 
along with his wife, an aged maiden aunt, his 
father's sister. On his arrival his aunt informed him 
that she must immediately apprise the captain of 
Cromwell's soldiers, then occupying the city, of his 
arrival, otherwise the soldiers would distrain her pro- 
perty. Semple undertook to prepare a missive 
supplying the needful information. Eeceiving a 
sheet of paper, he wrote these lines, which he folded 
in the form of a letter, and addressed " To the Com- 
mander of the Guard : " — 

" Lo doon near by the city temple, 
There is ane lodg'd wi' Auntie Semple, 
Francis Semple, of Beltrees, 
His consort also, if you please ; 
There's twa o's horse, and ane o's men, 
That's quartered down wi' Allan Glen. 
Thir lines I send to you, for fear 
0' poindin' of auld auntie's gear, 
Whilk never ane before durst stear, 
It stinks for staleness I dare swear." 

The writer subscribed his name and address, and by 


special messenger transmitted his communication to 
the military official. 

Having read the document, the English com- 
mandant conceived that the writer had intended a 
deliberate insult, and ordered a party of soldiers to 
arrest him. Semple was apprehended and arraigned 
before the Lord Provost. When the libel was read, 
the civic chief could not restrain his laughter, in 
which the commandant heartily joined, when the 
epistle was explained to him in English. From 
that moment Semple and the commandant became 
friends ; the latter introduced the poet to his 
officers, who enjoyed his society and his songs. On 
their return to England the officers made Semple's 
songs known in the south, where they were long 

James Sibbald, editor of the " Chronicles of Scot- 
tish Poetry," was very eccentric, but withal possessed 
considerable humour. He resided several years in 
London, without informing his friends in Scotland 
of his proceedings, or even where he lived. At length 
his brother, a Leith merchant, got a letter conveyed 
to him, in which he entreated him to relieve the 
anxieties of his relations by stating, just in two lines, 
where he lived, and what he was doing. Sibbald 
made the following laconic answer : — 

M I live in Soho, 
And my business is so-so." 

Dr. Walter Anderson, minister of Chirnside, was 
possessed of very ordinary talents, but was ambitious 


of fame as an author. Meeting Mr. Hume, the his- 
torian, in company, he said to him, " Mr. David, I 
dare say other people might write books too, but you 
clever folks have taken up all the good subjects." 
Mr. Hume replied, " Oh, there is room for a history 
of Croesus, king of Lydia." This remark, made by 
the historian in jest, the worthy clergyman accepted 
in perfect earnest, and positively prepared and pub- 
lished a huge quarto on the history of Croesus, with 
an elaborate dissertation " On the ancient notion of 
Destiny or Dreams." On the outbreak of the French 
Ee volution Dr. Anderson published a pamphlet on 
the subject, which, like his other publications, proved 
unsaleable. With a view of inviting attention to the 
work, he prepared an appendix, much exceeding the 
size of the original publication. Having called on 
Principal Eobertson, and informed him of his plan, 
the Principal remonstrated with him on the absurdity 
of his proposal. "When your pamphlet is already 
found to be heavy," said he, " do not think to lessen 
it by making it ten times heavier." Anderson's reply 
was sufficiently smart : — " Why, Dr. Eobertson, you 
may have seen a kite raised by boys ? If you have, 
you must have remarked that when they try to raise 
the kite by itself, they do not succeed, but when they 
add a long string of papers to its tail, up it goes like 
a laverock." * 

Professor William Wilkie, of St. Andrews, author 
of " The Epigoniad," suffered from a perpetual chill. 

* Lark. 



In order to secure himself sufficient warmth in bed, 
he slept under the load of twenty-four pairs of 

Lord Gardenstone indulged a fondness for the race 
of pigs. One of these animals he had trained to fol- 
low him like a dog. When it was little, his lordship 
allowed it to share his bed. This became incon- 
venient, but he continued to permit the creature to 
occupy the same room. He appropriated his clothes 
as its couch, which, he used to say, it kept comfort- 
ably warm. 

The celebrated Dr. Adam Smith, author of " The 
Wealth of Nations," was singularly eccentric in his 
habits. When he was engaged in composition, he 
got into a sort of reverie, which rendered him nearly 
unconscious of events in the external world. One 
Sunday morning he happened to walk into his garden 
at Kirkcaldy, his mind occupied with a train of 
ideas. He unconsciously travelled out of his garden 
into the turnpike road, along which he proceeded in 
a state of profound meditation, till he reached Dun- 
fermline, a town nearly fifteen miles distant. The 
people were proceeding to church, and the sound of 
the bells awakened the philosopher to reflection. 
Ha was arrayed in an old dressing-gown, and pre- 
sented a figure of no inconsiderable oddity. 

Dr. Eobert Hamilton, Professor of Mathematics in 
Marischal College, Aberdeen, was remarkable for his 
absence of mind. He had repeatedly proceeded to 
his class-room wanting in several essential articles of 


apparel. It afterwards was arranged that he should 
not leave his dwelling without undergoing inspection 
by some member of his household. 

The following anecdote of Professor Hamilton was 
related to the writer by the late Professor Pyper of 
St. Andrews. When the Professor was in the act of 
drawing mathematical figures on the black-board, 
many of his students were in the practice of 
throwing peas at him, from the effects of which 
he sheltered himself by placing his hand protec- 
tively on the back of his head. On one occasion 
an assailant, having waxed bold from the impunity 
which had attended his frequent perversity, cast at 
the board a toy cracker, containing a few particles 
of fulminating powder, which exploded near the 
Professor's head. With one bound the learned pre- 
ceptor darted from the class-room. A deputation 
of the better conducted members of the class were 
immediately despatched after him to plead an 
apology and entreat his return. Pyper acted as 
spokesman, but was met by the Professor with 
these words, — "Gentlemen, I have no objection to 
the peas, for I can easily protect myself with my 
hand; but I entreat you to spare my life. The 
ball hit the board within an inch of my ear." 
On a proper explanation of the nature of the mis- 
sile, with a promise that such projectiles should 
not again be used, the Professor resumed his 

Dr. Thomas Blacklock, the blind poet, was occa- 


sionally subject to extraordinary conditions of 
reverie. On the day of his ordination to the 
ministry at Kirkcudbright, he fell into a state of 
stupor or profound slumber immediately after 
dinner. He had retired to a private room, but 
being aroused some hours after, he rejoined his 
friends at table. He sung several songs and con- 
versed on different topics, though some of his 
friends observed him to be absent in manner. 
After supper he began to speak to himself in a very 
low and unintelligible tone. At last he awoke 
with a sudden start, and declared himself uncon- 
scious of all that had happened since the hour 
of dinner. His settlement had been strongly 
opposed by the parishioners, a circumstance which 
preyed deeply on his sensitive mind. 

The first wife of the Hon. Henry Erskine was 
uncommonly eccentric. Among her peculiarities 
was the custom of gadding about half the night, 
examining the family wardrobe, and ascertaining 
whether everything was in its proper place. One 
night she was unsuccessful in a search, and about 
three in the morning she awoke Mr. Erskine from 
his sleep, and put to him the question, "Harry, 
lovie, where's your white waistcoat?" 

John Barclay, author of " Argenis," and his wife 
were both eccentric persons. Barclay spent the 
afternoons in his garden. He conceived a passion 
for the cultivation of the tulip, and became so much 
attached to that flower that he occupied an ill-aired 


and uncomfortable dwelling in order to feast his 
eyes constantly upon it. When he had occasion 
to be absent, he placed two mastiffs as sentinels 
upon the garden to guard his beloved plant. After 
his death, Mrs. Barclay caused a handsome monu- 
ment to be raised to his memory; but learning 
that an erection of a similar character had been 
reared in the same place by a Eoman ecclesiastic 
to the memory of his tutor, she caused her hus- 
band's cenotaph to be destroyed. "My husband," 
said the irate gentlewoman, "was a man of family, 
and famous in the literary world ; I will not suffer 
him to remain on a level with an obscure pedagogue." 

Thomas Coutts, the celebrated London banker, 
was a native of Edinburgh. He was a man of very 
eccentric tastes. Being miserly in his habits, he 
caused his garments to be repaired so long as they 
could possibly be made to hold together. The pro- 
cess of mending, which he caused to be executed by 
his female servants, became extremely irksome, and 
several of them in consequence left his employment. 
At length a young woman, named Susan Starkie, 
entered his service, who, perceiving her master's pecu- 
liarity, contrived to introduce into his wardrobe, out 
of her savings, new stockings instead of those which 
had become useless. The careful banker was grati- 
fied to find his garments assume a renovated aspect 
under the care of his new handmaid, and conceiving 
that he could not procure a more economical wife, 
he married her. 


Alexander Cruden, author of the " Concordance of 
the Bible/' was subject to mental derangement, and 
was, at three different periods, confined in a lunatic 
asylum. When he had regained his freedom after 
the third occasion, he endeavoured to induce several 
relatives, who had been instrumental in confining 
him, to submit to imprisonment in Xewgate as a 
compensation for the maltreatment he conceived 
he had experienced at their hands. To his sister he 
proposed the alternative of Xewgate, Reading, and 
Aylesbury jails, or the prison at Windsor Castle ! 

Several Scottish clergymen have evinced eccen- 
tricity by constantly dwelling, in their pulpit prelec- 
tions and writings, on the illustration of a single 
doctrine or particular duty. A clergyman of the 
seventeenth century is described as accommodating 
every text towards enforcing the duty of support- 
ing the K Solemn League and Covenant." An- 
other Scottish divine preached so frequently on 
the subject of faith that his ministrations became 
irksome. A friend suggested to him a text, in the 
hope that on one occasion, at least, the wonted topic 
might be avoided. He named these words (Exod. 
xxxix. 26), — " A bell." Xext Sunday the clergyman, 
having read this short text, proceeded thus: " Brethren, 
a bell is the symbol of faith — for faith cometh by 
hearing, and how can we hear better than by a bell ? " 
In a history of the Bible* the Rev. George R. Gleig 

* u The History of the Bible," by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M.A., 
M.R.S.L., fee., &c, voL ii., p. 370. 



contrives to indicate his aversion to Scottish Theo- 
logy by describing the apostle Paul as " no Cal- 

Hugh Miller, the distinguished geologist, was for 
many years engaged as a quarrier and stonemason. 
He was singularly indifferent as to his personal 
attire. When he used to visit the printing-office of 
the Inverness Courier on the Saturday afternoons, he 
uniformly presented himself with his mason's apron 
folded up about his person. He was then an opera- 
tive, but when he proceeded to Edinburgh to undertake 
the editorship of the Witness newspaper, he could 
scarcely be persuaded to lay aside the badge of his 
original employment. 

The name of Mr. Durham of Largo is familiar to 
every reader of Scottish anecdote, from his love of 
setting forth stories of the marvellous. A servant 
who had long been in Mr. Durham's emplovment 
informed him that he could no longer remain in his 
service. " Why should you leave, John ? " said Mr. 
Durham ; M have I not always treated you well ? " 
" Oh/' responded John, * I have nothing to complain of 
on that score. But there is a reason." Mr. Durham 
said that he would endeavour to make him comfortable, 
and asked him to state his reason at once. " Weel 
then, sir," said John, " gin ye maun hae it, I must just 
tell you that the folks on the street often point to me 
and say, ' That's the man that has the leein' maister/ 
an' I dinna like this." M But, John, did you ever ob- 
serve that I told an untruth ? " said Mr. Durham. 


" Weel, sir," responded John, " ye maun excuse me if I 
say you sometimes gang a little owre far." " I am not 
sensible of it, John," said Mr. Durham ; " but, John, 
when you are standing behind me at table, and think 
I am going at all wrong, just give me quietly a wee 
dunch* on the back." Shortly after there was a 
dinner-party in Largo House, and Mr. Durham was 
entertaining his friends with his reminiscences of 
travel. In America he said he had seen monkeys of 
prodigious size, with tails twenty feet long. There 
were expressions of surprise. John gave his master 
a nudge. * Well, gentlemen," said the laird, " if the 
tails were not quite twenty feet long, I am sure they 
were fifteen." There were still expressions of surprise. 
John administered another nudge. "Certainly I 
did not measure the tails, but they could not be 
less than ten feet long." There was another nudge. 
This was too much for the laird's endurance. He 
turned round and exclaimed, " What do you mean, 
John; would you have the monkeys without tails 
at all?" 

The following anecdote respecting Mr. Durham's 
unfortunate habit has often been incorrectly told. 
Mr. Durham was present among a party of gentlemen, 
when a bet was taken as to whether he or another 
gentleman of the company, also noted for bouncing, 
would tell the greatest lie. Informed of the wager, 
Mr. Durham observed that, " it was singular he had 
the reputation of being a liar, since he was quite sure 

* Slight blow. 


he had never told a lie in his life." "The bet is 
gained," exclaimed the gentleman who had been in- 
clined to support the claims of the other bouncer. 
" A greater lie than this could not be told." 

Mr. Finlayson, town-clerk of Stirling, in the latter 
half of the seventeenth century, was notorious for 
coining marvellous stories. He had been on a visit 
to the Earl of Menteith at Talla, in Lake Menteith. 
On his being about to leave, the Earl asked him 
whether he had seen the sailing cherry-tree. He 
said he had not, and begged that his lordship would 
give him an account of it. The Earl stated that the 
tree had grown out of a goose's mouth from a stone 
which the bird had swallowed, and which she car- 
ried about with her round the lake. "The tree is 
now," added his lordship, * in full fruit, of the most 
exquisite flavour." Finlayson admitted that the story 
was very interesting, but could inform his lordship 
of one still more remarkable. "Did your lordship 
ever hear of the ball fired from one of Cromwell's 
cannon, when he was encamped at Airth ? " The Earl 
said he had not. "Then," said Finlayson, "it so 
happened that the ball fired from Airth reached 
Stirling Castle, four miles off, and lodged in a 
trumpet which was being sounded by one of the 
soldiers." " And the trumpeter was killed of course ? " 
said the Earl. "Not at all," responded Finlayson; 
" and this is the most marvellous part of the story, — 
the soldier blew the ball back again, and it killed the 


artilleryman who had fired it." The Earl admitted 
that Finlayson's fiction fairly eclipsed his own. 

The Hon. William Eamsay Maule,* afterwards 
Baron Panmure, was, in the earlier part of his career, 
celebrated for his strange escapades. Several stories 
of his eccentric doings have been preserved. Mr. 
Maule had been making merry at an hotel in Mon- 
trose. At a late hour he sallied out in quest of ad- 
venture. A street lamp happened to attract his 
attention. With a stroke of his ponderous walking- 
stick he fractured it to atoms. " You have broken a 
lamp, Mr. Maule," said one of the watchmen. " The 
price is seven shillings." "Just so," responded Mr. 
Maule ; " can you change a guinea note ? " The 
watchman responded in the negative. "Never 
mind," said the young squire, " I'll just take penny- 
worths." So he proceeded to destroy other two of the 
lamps, and then handed the note to the watchman. 

There is a better known story of Mr. Maule con- 
nected with a similar escapade at Perth. At a late 
hour one evening he had proceeded from street to 
street of that city, extinguishing the lamps and 
smashing them to pieces. The city corporation met 
next morning to deliberate on obtaining a restoration 
of their property, and punishing the offender. Just 
as they had taken their seats in the council-chamber 
Mr. Maule presented himself, and respectfully address- 
ing the Lord Provost, requested permission to make 
a statement. " My lord and honourable gentlemen," 

* This benevolent nobleman died on the 3rd of April, 1852. 


proceeded Mr. Maule, "on walking last evening 
through your beautiful city, I was struck with the 
inferior appearance of your street lamps, which were 
quite unworthy of so fine a city. I therefore took 
the liberty of destroying them, that I might enjoy 
the satisfaction of presenting a set of lamps of a 
handsome and appropriate character. This I now 
beg leave to do." The Lord Provost conveyed to 
Mr. Maule the acknowledgments of the corporation, 
and he retired from the council-chamber amidst the 
plaudits of the assembly. 

The mother of the late Joseph Hume, M.P., was 
early left a widow, and contrived to support her- 
self and her young family by keeping a store of 
earthenware at the market-place of Montrose. At 
the weekly fair she spread out her wares on the 
street to attract customers. On a fair day Mr. Maule 
and a companion entered Montrose on horseback, 
and discovering Mrs. Hume's goods in the street, pro- 
ceeded to gallop through them, to the entire conster- 
nation of the bystanders. Mrs. Hume remarked that 
"the weel faured* honourable wad hae his diver- 
sion." She had been paid by Mr. Maule for her 
goods in double their specified value. 

Walking one day through a plantation on his 
estate, Mr. Maule heard a sound like the hewing of 
wood. Proceeding in the direction of the sound, he 
saw a young man deliberately levelling one of his 
trees. " What are ye aboot, man ? " said he, in as 

* Well-favoured, good-looking. 


provincial a tone as he couH command. " Do you 
no see what I'm aboot?" answered the fellow, with 
an air of indifference. " I see," said the stranger ; 
"but what if Maule were to come upon you?" 
"Hout, man!" replied the youth, "he wadna say a 
word. There's no a better gentleman in a' the country. 
Wad ye lend me a hand ? " The stranger assented, 
and when the tree had been placed on the cart, which 
was waiting at some distance, the peasant proposed 
to reward his assistant with a dram at the alehouse. 
To this request the stranger would not accede, but 
said to the youth that if he would call next day at 
the castle, he should have a glass out of his own 
private bottle. The countryman promised to call, 
and kept his word. He was immediately ushered 
into the presence of Mr. Maule and a company of 
gentlemen. " You will get your dram in the hall," 
said Mr. Maule to the bewildered and trembling 
rustic ; " but when you next go to cut wood, I would 
advise you first to ask Maule's permission." 

The old highland chairmen of Edinburgh were 
notorious for their love of money. The discontent 
of these persons happened to be talked of in an 
Edinburgh club where Mr. Maule was present. He 
undertook the defence of bis northern countrymen, 
and took a bet of five guineas with one of the com- 
pany that he would readily satisfy their demands. 
The bet was accepted. Mr. Maule threw himself into 
a sedan, requesting that he might be carried a short- 
distance down the Canongate. On alighting he 


handed a guinea note to his conductors. "Thank 
yer honour," said the recipient, " but surely yell gie 
me anither sixpence to get a gill." "An' any odd 
bawbees* for sneeshin,"*f- said the other. " Your greed 
has cost me five guineas already, besides what you 
have got," said Mr. Maule, as he walked off, resolving 
never again to espouse the cause of highland chair- 

In the manner of his times Mr. Maule occasionally 
disguised himself as a mendicant. One cold wet 
evening he entered the house of an old woman, and 
in his character of gaberlunzie sought shelter and 
refreshment. He received a welcome, but had no 
sooner seated himself than he began to complain of 
the insufficiency of the fire for so severe a night. The 
poor cottager said she had no more fuel in the house. 
" Oh, I'll soon find fuel," said the supposed vagrant. 
And so saying, he seized hold of the spinning-wheel, 
which he broke to pieces, and heaped upon the fire. 
The poor woman was utterly appalled, and upbraided 
the audacious wanderer for destroying her only 
means of earning a living. After submitting to the 
full torrent of her wrath, he suddenly cast aside his 
tattered vestments, and drawing forth a well-filled 
purse, placed ten guineas in her hand. " Buy plenty 
of fuel for the winter, and a good new wheel," said 
the gentle beggar, as he hastened his departure 
amidst showers of benediction. 

The last Duke of Gordon was, as Marquis of 

* Halfpence. t Snuff. 


Huntly, celebrated for playing the gaberlunzie. 
This exploit being mentioned in company, a gen- 
tleman present took a bet with him that under no 
possible disguise could his lordship deceive him. In 
the course of a few days he appeared at the house of 
his friend, in his guise as a mendicant. The owner 
of the mansion was walking in his avenue, when the 
pseudo-beggar saluted him with becoming reverence 
and asked an awmous* The gentleman told him to 
step into the hall, and there to see what could be 
found for a keen appetite. The gaberlunzie humbly 
thanked his honour, and proceeding into the hall, 
had placed before him an abundant supply of cold 
meat, bread, and beer. Having partaken of the 
cheer, he again crossed the path of the gentleman, 
who asked him how he had fared. " Very poorly, 
very poorly," replied the mendicant ; " I had nothing 
but cold beef, sour bread, and stale beer." "You 
must be a saucy scoundrel," said the gentleman, who 
called to some of his people to hasten his departure. 
The beggar threw aside his rags, and appeared before 
his astonished friend as the Marquis of Huntly ! 

The most remarkable adept at mystification who 
has appeared in Scottish society is Miss Stirling 
Graham, a distant relative of the writer. A publica- 
tion of this estimable gentlewoman, descriptive of 
the mystifications which she practised in her youth, 
should be procured by all those who wish to enjoy an 
insight into the manners of Scottish life fifty years 

* Alms. 


ago. Two of Miss Graham's mystifications are suit- 
able to the present work. 

One Saturday evening Mr. Francis Jeffrey met Miss 
Graham in society, and expressed to her a wish that 
he might be introduced to the old lady she was in the 
habit of personating. She consented, and promised 
that he should see the old lady very soon. On the 
afternoon of the following Monday a carriage drove 
up to Mr. Jeffery's door, and " the Lady Pitlyal," 
ascertaining that the learned gentleman was within, 
stepped out and was duly ushered into his business 
room. She was accompanied by her daughter, " the 
heiress of Pitlyal." Her ladyship was received with 
the ceremony befitting her rank. She proceeded to 
detail with much minuteness the particulars of a law 
process, in which she was desirous of retaining Mr. 
Jeffrey as her counsel. Jeffrey undertook to examine 
her papers on the case being presented to him by her 
agent. She then handed him a fee, adding a pinch 
of snuff from her massive gold box. Taking a folded 
paper from her silver-clasped pocket-book, she stated 
that it contained an extract from a muckle book, 
called the " Prophecies of Pitlyal," and that she was 
anxious to have his explanation of it. Jeffrey 
promptly excused himself, remarking that her lady- 
ship would find him more skilled in the law than the 
prophets. Nothing daunted, Lady Pitlyal handed to 
him the paper, and begged him to read it aloud. He 
read, among other lines, these : — 


" O'er the Light of the North, 

"When the glamour breaks forth, 

And its wild-fire so red 

With the daylight is spread, 
When woman shrinks not from the ordeal of tryal, 
There is triumph and fame to the house of Pitlyal." 

Jeffrey could not comprehend such symbolical 
phraseology, and her ladyship hinted her belief that 
it might be realized in her obtaining a good marriage 
for her daughter. 

A pause in the conversation having occurred, her 
ladyship asked Mr. Jeffrey to inform her where 
she could procure a set of fause teeth. He politely 
informed her of the names of two celebrated dentists, 
and at her request wrote their addresses on a slip of 
paper. She now informed him that she read his buke, 
meaning the Edinburgh Review. She retired, leaning 
on her daughter's arm and her gold-headed cane, and 
complaining loudly of " a eorny tae." Jeffrey was late 
for dinner, in consequence of the interview, and ex- 
plained to his family that he had been detained by 
one of the oddest and most tiresome old women he 
had ever met with. Next day he learned that he, 
too, had been " taken in " by Miss Stirling Graham's 
old lady. 

Miss Graham was on a visit to her friends, Mr. 
and Mrs. Guthrie, of Craigie. The Misses Guthrie 
proposed she should "take in" their father and 
mother. A letter accordingly was handed up to Mr. 
Graham from his friend Mr. Dempster, of Dunni- 
chen, announcing the visit of an old acquaintance of 


his — Mrs. Macallister, from Elgin, who was on her 
way to Edinburgh, as a witness in Lord Fife's cause. 
She was represented as amusing, a great traveller, 
and somewhat of an oddity. "Where's the lady?" 
said Mr. Guthrie, on glancing at the letter. " In her 
carriage at the door," said the servant. The laird 
hastened to receive her, and found Mrs. Macallister 
in the hall. " Bless me, Mrs. Macallister, are you 
standing there ?" said the laird, as he offered his arm, 
and conducted the supposed stranger into the draw- 
ing-room. He introduced her in due form to Mrs. 
Guthrie and to every one of the party. A smile, 
which increased into a decided laugh, arose among 
the Misses Guthrie, and Mrs. Macallister was obliged 
to plead a spasmodic pain in her side to account for 
her whole frame being moved by a fit of laughter, 
which she struggled to suppress. An elderly gentle- 
man of the party reproved the young ladies in an- 
other part of the room for laughing at an old person, 
even allowing that she was a little outr^ in her attire. 

The laird ordered that Mrs. Macallister' s horses 
should be attended to, and was particularly attentive 
to her during that afternoon and evening. " I have 
met a gentleman of your name in London," said Mrs. 
Macallister ; " he is connected with a mercantile 
house." " My son Charles," said the laird. " I met 
another Mr. Guthrie at Gow's ball in Edinburgh — 
a very facetious young gentleman. He introduced 
me to some of his acquaintances, and called aloud 
to the music to play — *' Such a pair was never seen/ " 



" That is my son Sandy," said the laird, laughing 

At supper, Mrs. Macallister took a fancy for the 
laird's snuff-box, and presenting her own valuable 
gold one, offered to exchange with him. Mr. Guthrie 
politely excused himself, stating that his box was a 
keepsake from his valued friend, the late Mr. Graham, 
of Duntrune. But Mrs. Macallister persisted, and at 
length deliberately placed Mr. Guthrie's snuff-box in 
her pocket. He looked extremely annoyed, but was 
too polite to complain. 

Mrs. Macallister proceeded, in reply to a question 
by Mr. Guthrie, to give an account of her family of 
" four sons," and as she hesitated to speak of the 
youngest — her equanimity having momentarily wa- 
vered — an elderly gentleman present, conceiving that 
painful associations had been excited, covered his 
face with his handkerchief, and wept. 

At* eleven o'clock, Miss Guthrie offered to escort 
Mrs. Macallister to her room, but she said that Mr. 
Dempster had always conducted her to the door of 
her apartment himself, and kissed her when he bade 
her good night, and that he had assured her his friend 
Craigie would not be behind him in gallantry. The 
laird accordingly led the ancient dame up-stairs, but 
when at the door of her chamber, she took off her 
bonnet to conclude the scene, and the features of Miss 
Graham met his eyes, he stood for some seconds as if 
overwhelmed with surprise. Then laughing heartily, he 
exclaimed, " Now, Clemy, give me back my snuff-box." 


Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair of St. Andrews, another 
relative of the writer, was singularly eccentric in 
his habits. He was many years chief magistrate 
of St. Andrews, a city which he converted from a 
state of dirt and dilapidation into a condition of 
elegance and beauty. In the course of his operations 
he had to encounter the usual prejudices against 
reforms common in the smaller Scottish burghs. 
Desirous of removing certain porches which, project- 
ing from the older houses, interfered with the sym- 
metry of the streets, he obtained the signatures of the 
owners and occupants to a memorial in which those 
excrescences were condemned. One morning every 
porch was found in ruins. The owners were as- 
tounded — many of them menacing law proceedings. 
The provost presented the memorial to the town 
council, who voted thanks to the subscribers for their 
enterprise and public spirit. The compliment over- 
came every hostile feeling. 

There was a convenient promenade in a suburb of 
the city which the professors of St. Mary's College 
were desirous of closing up, since it was likely to 
lead to a permanent thoroughfare through a portion 
of their estate. The professors caused a wall to be 
erected across the footpath. During the following 
night the wall disappeared. Again it was reared, 
and once more the interruption was cleared off. The 
professors of St. Mary's proceeded a third time to 
assert their rights, when a formidable barrier was 
constructed. In the course of a few weeks this also 



was levelled, and on its site was erected a board 
containing the following couplet : — 

" This fence, three times built by St. Mary's, 
Was thrice demolished by the fairies ! 99 

At an early period of his labours as a civic re- 
former, Sir Hugh had made application to Government 
to obtain funds for completing the unfinished struc- 
ture of the United College. Some of the professors felt 
aggrieved that they had not been consulted in regard 
to the application, and a letter of remonstrance on 
the subject was addressed to Sir Hugh by the Faculty. 
The gallant knight did not relax his efforts, and at 
length procured a grant of £12,000 for the college 
buildings. He now received from the university the 
degree of LL.D. in recognition of his services ; but 
the eccentric magistrate suspended the letter of re- 
monstrance in his business room, with the title in 
large letters, — " Vote of Thanks from the Professors 
of the United College for procuring the completion of 
their College buildings." 

Sir Hugh was actuated by a strong sense of duty, 
which he combined with an entire disregard of 
popular applause. Some years before his death he 
reared a monument to himself in the public cemetery 
of the burgh. The writer suggested to him that he 
might have saved the expenditure, since the citizens 
would certainly not fail to raise a memorial stone to 
one who had done so much for the improvement of 
their city. " Don't you think," said the knight, " that 
if they intended to honour my memory, they would 


do something for me when living ? Would they not 
encourage my literary efforts ? I lately published a 
catechism ; it is well got up, it contains matter of 
universal interest, it has been favourably received by 
the press, the price is sufficiently moderate — being 
only one penny; and how many copies have my 
fellow-townsmen purchased of my little work, which 
was published a year ago ? I believe not more than 
three, and one of these is still unpaid !" 

The Eev. Dr. U , an accomplished clergyman 

of the Scottish Church, is said to have been indebted 
for his living to an occurrence which scarcely pro- 
mised such a satisfactory result. He had, early in 
the century, been sent by his father, the clergyman of 
a Highland parish, to prosecute his classical studies 
at the High School of Edinburgh. The bully of the 
school was a young laird, who made it a point to try 
the mettle of every new comer. The hero of our 
tale was a lank lad of fourteen, whose retiring man- 
ners almost precluded the possibility of his giving 
offence ; but Bully contrived to fasten a quarrel on 
him, and it was arranged that their mutual honour 
and prowess should be determined before sufficient 
witnesses in a retired part of the Kings Park. 
Contrary to all expectation, the Highlander parried 
the blows of his antagonist, and ingeniously striking 
where least expected, fairly overthrew the Goliath 
of the school ring. The juvenile spectators were 
delighted, and cheered lustily. Not less so the 
discomfited hero of a hundred school fights. He 


pronounced his adversary the only boy of the school 
whom he could not lick,* and in consideration of his 
prowess, he promised that as he intended for the 
ministry, he would present him to a living, of which 
he expected in due time to be patron. 

The boys separated — the ministerial aspirant leav- 
ing his native country and obtaining educational 
employment, first on the Continent and afterwards 
in America. Thirty years elapsed till the living 
promised at the school-fight became vacant. Bully 
did not forget his promise. He made inquiry con- 
cerning the locality of his old friend, which was at 
length discovered. The long-promised living was 
conferred on him in a kindly communication re- 
minding him of the struggle in the King's Park. 

Sheriff Barclay supplies the following. On a curl- 
ing pond, a landowner, who was patron of several 
livings, was on a rink with a young probationer. 
The last stone to be played was in the hands of the 
aspirant to a pulpit. The reckoning was much 
against his side. The patron exclaimed to his curling 
confrere, " If you take this shot, I promise you the 
first living in my gift." Fortunately, the stone won 
the game. Ten years after, a church in the land- 
owner's gift became vacant. He did not forget his 
promise at the bonspeil."}- The probationer received 
a presentation from his curling acquaintance. " He 
still lives," writes Dr. Barclay, "proving by the 
efficient discharge of his sacred duties that he did 
not lead his patron on the ice" 

* Beat, subdue. t Curling match. 


The present chapter shall be closed with some 
anecdotes of the famous violinist, Neil Gow, and his 
son Nathaniel, the accomplished musician. 

Neil Gow was a native of Inver, near Dunkeld, 
where he continued to reside, under the patronage of 
the Duke of Atholl, his hereditary chief. Though 
present at the most refined gatherings of his day, Gow 
retained his native simplicity of manners. At Dun- 
keld House he was regarded as a privileged person, 
and his rough drolleries were not only tolerated, 
but heartily enjoyed. There was a brilliant assem- 
blage at the mansion. Dancing had been continued 
throughout the evening. Supper was at length an- 
nounced, but some of the ladies lingered in the 
drawing-room, reluctant to leave the dance. Gow was 
somewhat fidgety, for he had not then bid " farewell 
to whisky," and he longed for refreshment and rest. 
At length, losing patience, he surprised the fair 
lingerers by exclaiming, " Gang doun to yer suppers, 
ye daft limmers, and dinna had me reelin' here as if 
hunger and dearth were unkent in the land. Gang 
doun wi' ye." 

One day Gow was summoned to Dunkeld House 
to note the musical performances on the piano of 
Lady Charlotte Drummond, one of the Duke's 
daughters, who had lately " finished " her education. 
Hearing her play, Neil said to the Duchess, " That 
lassie o' yours, my leddy, has a gude ear." A gentle- 
man remarked, u Neil, do you call her Grace's daugh- 
ter a lassie?" "What would I ca' her," answered 
the minstrel; " sure she's no a laddie." 


The celebrated Duchess of Gordon paid Neil a 
visit in his cottage. Her Grace complained to him 
of suffering from giddiness and swimming in her 
head. " I ken the complaint weel," said Neil. 
"When IVe been a wee fou the nicht afore, I've 
thocht as if a bike * o' bees were bizzin'-f* i' my head 
the next mornin'." 

The Duke of Atholl made himself familiar with 
Gow. Walking with the Duchess one day on Stanley 
hill, near Dunkeld, Neil chanced to come up. The 
Duke seized hold of him, and sportively engaged him 
in a wrestling match. Neil had the worst of it, and 
rolled down the incline. The Duchess ran towards 
him and expressed a hope that he was not hurt. 
" Naething to speak o\" replied Neil, " I was the 
mair idiot to wrestle wi' sic a fule." 

Several gentlemen met Gow walking in the neigh- 
bourhood of his cottage. " Are you Neil Gow, may 
I ask ?" said one of them. " Deed am I," was his 
answer. " Oh, we are so glad, for we have walked 
all the w^ay from Aberdeen on purpose to see you." 
" The mair fules," replied the musician, " I wadna 
gane half so far to see you." 

Neil's son, Nathaniel Gow, was also distinguished 
for his powers as a violinist. When George IV. 
made his state visit to Scotland in 1822, he was 
specially retained to discourse the national airs at a 
great assembly, which his Majesty consented to 
attend. One tune especially attracted the royal 

* Nest. f Buzzing. 



notice. "What do you call that tune, Gow?" said 
the King. "'Wha'll be King but Charlie? ' please 
your Majesty/' replied the musician. All were em- 
barrassed by the answer, save the king and Gow 
— the latter entirely unconscious of his uncourtly 
speech. But " the first gentleman in Europe " asked 
the musician to repeat the tune, and desired that it 
might be often played to him during his visit to the 
northern capital 



" Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies, 
And catch the manners living as they rise. ,, 


There are two distinct classes of Scotsmen — one 
shrewd and sagacious, the other extremely foolish. 
The observation, commonplace as it may seem, is 
strictly descriptive of the Scottish character. In- 
tensity is peculiar to the mental condition of 
northern races. Lacking the vivacious sprightli- 
ness of the Irish Celt, and equally removed from 
the listless content of the unlettered Saxon, the 
Scotsman is impassioned and fervid. With his 
mind he deals as with the soil of his country ; 
he endeavours to make the most of it. He sup- 
plements original deficiencies by observation, and 
steadily acquires knowledge in the school of experi- 
ence. Hence weak persons are a distinct class 
among the Scots. Their dulness of apprehension 
and poverty of thought have rendered them con- 
spicuous. Such were, no doubt, the Scottish asso- 
ciates of Mr. Sydney Smith, of whom he humorously 


said that a surgical operation was required to get 
a joke into their understandings. 

Mr. John Welch, son-in-law of John Knox, the 
reformer, was one of the most fervid and ingenious 
of the older Presbyterian clergy. On a false charge 
of sedition he was deprived of his living and ban- 
ished to France. When he was residing at St. Jean 
d'Angely, a fortified town in Lower Charente, that 
town was besieged by Louis XIII., who was then 
at war with his Protestant subjects. Mr. Welch 
warmly counselled the burgesses to make resist- 
ance, and personally assisted in serving the guns. 
When the place capitulated, the monarch requested 
the Duke d'Epernon to arrest him and bring him 
to court. The Duke proceeded on his mission with 
a party of soldiers. He found Mr. Welch preaching 
in his place of worship. Observing the Duke enter, 
Mr. Welch requested him to be seated and listen to 
his discourse. The Duke obeyed. He declared to 
the preacher at the close of the service that he felt 
edified. Mr. Welch accompanied him to the king's 
presence. The monarch asked him how he dared 
to preach since the exposition of Protestant doc- 
trines was forbidden in those places where the court 
resided. Mr. Welch replied, " Sir, if your Majesty 
knew what I preached you would come to hear what 
is spoken, and command your people likewise to 
hear it. I preach that you must be saved by the 
merits of Jesus Christ, and not your own ; and I 
further preach that, as you are king of France, there 


is no man above you in this kingdom. But these 
men, whom you permit to preach, teach that there 
is one above you in authority, the Pope of Rome. 
To this I could not assent." The speech so 
pleased the monarch that he received Mr. Welch 
into favour, constituted him "his minister," and 
assured him of his constant protection. He kept 
his promise. 

When Scotland was overrun by an English army 
during the Protectorate, the Estates of Parliament 
caused the Regalia, consisting of the crown, sceptre, 
and sword, to be deposited in the stronghold of Dun- 
nottar Castle. This became known, and the castle 
was besieged by a portion of Cromwell's army. 
After a prolonged resistance, the garrison resolved 
to capitulate. Such a course would have implied 
the surrender of the national trophies. Ogilvie, 
who commanded the garrison, was a landowner at 
Kinneff, and Mr. James Granger, minister of that 
parish, and his wife were deeply concerned that one 
of their parishioners should be placed in the con- 
dition of surrendering the ancient insignia of the 
national honour. Mrs. Granger, accompanied by her 
maid, proceeded to the castle. She claimed permis- 
sion from General Morgan, w^ho commanded the 
besiegers, to enter the castle to visit her friend Mrs. 
Ogilvie. The request was courteously granted. 
After a short interval Mrs. Granger and her maid 
returned. The maid bore a bag of hards of lint 
Mrs. Granger carried a small bundle. General 


Morgan handed the lady to her horse. The castle 
surrendered soon after, and Mr. Ogilvie was severely 
menaced unless he would deliver up the regalia. 
He protested that it was impossible to comply, since 
these insignia had been removed. He spoke truly. 
Mrs. Granger and her maid had borne them off in 
presence of the besieging army. Her little bundle 
contained the crown, and the bag of hards borne by 
her maid concealed the sceptre and sword of state. 
The precious relics were carefully deposited under 
the pulpit of Kinneff church. 

After the Eestoration two parties were rewarded 
for their supposed share in this transaction. Mr. 
Ogilvie was created a baronet, and John Keith, son 
of the Countess Marischal, received the earldom of 
Kintore. The latter was represented by the Countess 
as having carried the regalia to France, but in reality 
he had no share whatever in their preservation. The 
patriotic minister of Kinneff, and his adventurous 
helpmate, went unrewarded. 

When William Wallace, a youth of fifteen, slew 
young Selby, son of the English constable, at Dundee, 
he was saved from the consequences of his rashness 
by the ingenuity of a woman. Flying from his pur- 
suers Wallace took refuge in a peasant's hut at 
Innergowrie. Relating his story, the gudewife arrayed 
him in female attire, and placed him at her spinning- 
wheel. He had just begun to spin, when the pursuers 
entered, and demanded whether a young murderer 
had been there. " There's nae ane here," said the 


gudewife, " but the carlin* at the wheel and mysel." 
The soldiers searched the premises and passed on. 

The late Sir Alexander Boswell, Bart., of Auchin- 
leck, son of the celebrated James Boswell, was a 
person of great ingenuity and public spirit. He 
formed the scheme of rearing a monument to the 
poet Burns at his birthplace, on the banks of the 
Doon. Having procured many promises of support, 
he convened a meeting on the subject, to be held in 
the county rooms at Ayr. When the hour of meet- 
ing arrived, two persons only were found in the room, 
these being the convener, and his factor or land-agent. 
This result had been discouraging to most persons ; 
but Sir Alexander did not lose heart. He took the 
chair, on the motion of his factor, and in return he 
nominated the factor clerk to the meeting. He read 
a series of resolutions, which the factor seconded. 
These, as unanimously agreed to at a public meeting 
held at Ayr, and duly subscribed by the chairman 
and clerk, were printed and circulated. A committee 
which had been nominated met and acted. In the 
course of twelve months the sum of £2,000 was at 
the credit of the committee. A monumental design 
was procured, and the work of its construction was 
begun. Sir Alexander Boswell now publicly related 
the story of the Ayr meeting, and his enthusiasm and 
ingenuity were duly applauded. 

James Boswell has been already referred to. Though 
in many respects a weak man, he occasionally said 

* A familiar term for a female. 


good things. His note-book* contains the follow- 
ing : — " A dull fool was nothing, that never showed 
himself; the great thing is to have your fool well 
furnished with animal spirits and conceit, and he 
will display to you a rich fund of risibility." 

A stupid fellow was declaiming against that kind 
of raillery called roasting, and was saying, " I am 
sure I have a great deal of good nature, I never roast 
any." "Why, sir," said Boswell, "you are an ex- 
ceeding good-natured man, to be sure; but I can 
give you a better reason for your never roasting any. 
Sir, you never roast any because you have got no 

" Asparagus is like gentility ; it cannot be brought 
to table till several generations from the dunghill." 

" The minds of some men are like a dark cellar, 
where their knowledge lies concealed; while the 
minds of others are all sunshine and mirror, and 
reflect all that they read or hear in a lively manner." 

" I said in a dispute with Sir Alexander Dick, 
on the different estimation to be put on sons and 
daughters, that 'Sons are truly part of a family, 
daughters go into other families. Sons are the furni- 
ture of your house ; daughters are furniture in the 
house for sale. No man would wish to have his 
daughters fixtures ; such of them as are well-looked 
are like certain marked pictures at the exhibition.' " 

" I said of a rich man who entertained us luxuri- 
ously, that although he was exceedingly ridiculous, 
* " Boswelliana," privately printed by Lord Houghton. 



we restrained ourselves from talking of him as we 
might do, lest we should lose his feasts. Said I, ' He 
makes our teeth sentinels on our tongues/ " 

During Dr. Johnson's visit to Scotland, one Camp- 
bell, a St. Andrews student, published an amusing 
pamphlet in ridicule of the Doctor's style. The 
pamphlet, which has long ceased to be in print, 
represents a supposed conversation between the 
lexicographer and some persons seeking etymolo- 
gical information. u What is the simplest definition 
of a window, Dr. Johnson ?" said one of the in- 
quirers. "A window, sir," responded the sage, "is 
an orifice cut out of an edifice for the introduction 
of illumination.' , The candle had required snuffing. 
u Pray, sir," said the lexicographer to one of the party, 
" will you deprive that luminary of its superfluous 
eminence ?" 

For the following anecdote, related by old Lord 
Elcho, we are indebted to a work lately published by 
Mr. Jerdan :— 

" I once presided," said his lordship, " over a jolly 
company, when it was more customary than it now is, 
— and the more's the pity — to call upon every guest in 
turn for a song or a tale, under the penalty, in case of 
refusal or non-compliance, of a strong tumbler of salt 
and water. I at last came to a contumacious chap, 
who protested he could neither sing a song nor 
tell a tale. This would not pass with me, and espe- 
cially as I had had my eye on this Billy for some 
time, and did not at all like his jeering leers and 


scoffing manners. So I said to him peremptorily/' Well, 
sir, if you can do neither the one nor the other, you 
must oblige me by tossing off the tumbler I will now 
order to be brought to you." " Stop ! " he cried, hastily, 
" let me try first." Silence ensued, and he proceeded : 
" There was once a thief who chanced to find a church 
door open, of which carelessness he took advantage and 
stepped in, not to worship but to carry off whatever 
of the portable he could find. He put the cushions 
under his arms, hid as much as he could, and impu- 
dently wrapped the pulpit cloth about him like a 
plaid; but lo and behold! whilst he was thus em- 
ployed the sexton happened to pass by, and seeing the 
church door open, got the key and locked it ; so that 
when our irreligious friend thought he had nothing to 
do but slip out as he had slipped in, he discovered he 
was a close prisoner, and all egress stopped. What to 
do he knew not ; but at last it struck him that he 
might succeed in letting himself down to the ground 
by the bell-rope. Accordingly, with it in hand he 
swung gently off, and you may be certified set up a 
ringing that alarmed the neighbourhood. In short, he 
was captured with his booty upon him as soon as he 
reached mother earth ; upon which, looking up to the 
bell, as I now look up to your lordship, he remon- 
strated, 1 Had it not been for your long tongue and 
empty head, I might have escaped.' " 

Eobert Pollok, author of "The Course of Time," 
was delivering in the Theological Hall of the Seces- 
sion Church a trial discourse, of which the subject 



was Sin. The diction was considerably inflated, and 
as the preacher proceeded, the students gave audible 
expression to the amusement which they experienced. 
At last the Professor smiled too. This was not un- 
observed by Pollok, who was just on the point of a 
climax respecting the evils which sin had caused. 
He closed it with these words, emphatically spoken, 
" And but for sin, the smile of folly had never been 
upon the brow, of wisdom." 

Mr. Cochrane, a Jacobite landowner in Stirling- 
shire, was requested to allow a stone to be quarried 
on his estate for a monument to Sir Eobert Munro, 
Bart., of Foulis, an officer in the royal army, who fell 
at Falkirk. " I'll gie ye headstanes for them a'," was 
Cochrane' s reply, meaning all the adherents of the 
House of Hanover. 

Dr. Cullen entertained strong views respecting the 
loquacity of the fair sex. The Rev. John Aitken, 
minister of St. Vigeans, had consulted him on 
account of incipient deafness. Cullen wrote a pre- 
scription, on which Mr. Aitken tendered a fee. " I 
thank you," said the physician, "but I have long 
made it a rule not to accept a fee from a country 
clergyman; he cannot afford it, sir." "There may 
be some who cannot," said Mr. Aitken, " but I can ; 
for my living is good and I have no family." " What, 
are you a bachelor?" said the doctor. "I am," re- 
plied Mr. Aitken. " Then," said the physician, " go 
home, destroy my prescription, and get married, 
and I'll hazard my reputation that, a month after, 
you shall hear on the deafest side of your head." 


Lady Wallace, who was reputed for her sallies of 
wit, was overcome with her own weapons by David 
Hume. " I am often asked," she said to the philo- 
sopher, "what age I am; what answer should I 
make?" "When you are asked that question 
again," replied Hume, "just say that you are not 
come to the years of discretion." 

Dr. Davidson, Professor of Natural Science at 
Aberdeen, gave occasional lectures in natural history. 
In order to puzzle him, some of his students con- 
trived to put together portions of various insects, so 
as to present the appearance of a single original. 
The medley being placed before the Professor, one 
of the rogues remarked, "We think it is a sort of 
bug." The Professor, inspecting it through his glass, 
promptly replied, " Yes, gentlemen, a humbug." 

Andrew Gemmels, the Teviotdale gaberlunzie, 
prototype of Edie Ochiltree, was a person of no 
inconsiderable humour. When Sergeant Dodds was 
haranguing a group of rustics at St. Boswell's Pair 
on the glory of a soldier's life, Gemmels, who was 
close behind him, reared aloft his meal-bags on the 
end of his pike-staff, and exclaimed, " And behold 
the end o't!" The sergeant retired amidst the 
laughter of the bystanders. 

Gemmels was standing before an expensive and 
fantastic mansion, built by a laird, one of his patrons, 
whose circumstances were none of the best. The 
laird came out and said, " Well, Andrew, you're ad- 
miring our handiworks?" "Atweel am I, sir?" was 


the reply ; " I have just been thinking that ye hae 
thrown awa' twa bonny estates and built a gowk's* 

The celebrated Henry, first Viscount Melville, was 
on a visit to Edinburgh shortly after the passing of 
some unpopular public measure to which he had 
given his support. On the morning after his arrival 
he sent for a barber to shave him at his hotel. This 
functionary, a considerable humourist, resolved to 
indicate his sentiments respecting his lordship's 
recent procedure as a legislator. Having decorated 
his lordship with an apron, he proceeded to lather 
his face. Then, flourishing his razor, he said, " We 
are obliged to you, my lord, for the part you lately 
took in the passing of that odious bill." "Oh, 
you're a politician!" said his lordship; "I sent for 
a barber." "I'll shave you directly," added the 
barber, who, after shaving one-half of the beard, next 
came to the throat, across which he drew rapidly 
the back of his instrument, saying, " Take that, you 
traitor." He then hastily withdrew. Lord Melville, 
who conceived that his throat had been cut from ear 
to ear, placed the apron about his neck, and with a 
gurgling noise shouted " Murder ! " The waiter 
immediately appeared, and, at his lordship's entreaty, 
rushed out to procure a surgeon. Three members of 
the medical faculty were speedily in attendance; 
but his lordship could scarcely be persuaded by their 
joint solicitation to expose his throat, around which 
* Fool's. 


he firmly held the barbers apron. At length he 
consented to an examination ; but he could only be 
convinced by looking into a mirror that his throat 
had been untouched. His lordship was mortified 
by the merriment which the occurrence excited, and 
speedily returned to London. 

Mrs. Glen Gordon, who acted as deputy keeper 
of Linlithgow Palace, remonstrated with General 
Hawley on the danger likely to result from the 
large fires kindled by his men in the immediate 
vicinity of the palace. The General rudely answered 
that he did not care though the palace was burnt 
to the ground. " An that be the case I can rin awa' 
frae fire as fast as you," responded the indignant 
lady, alluding to the General's recent rout at Falkirk. 

Miss Maxwell, afterwards Lady Wallace, was a 
celebrated beauty. She resided in Edinburgh, and 
the style of dress which she adopted regulated the 
fashions of the capital. The family were about to 
attend the races at Leith, and the carriage was wait- 
ing, when a milliner, who had been making a bonnet 
for Miss Maxwell, rushed into the house, protesting 
that in her haste to deliver the head-dress in time, 
she had unfortunately brought it in contact with 
the buckle of a street-porter, by which it was rent. 
" Ne'er mind," said the lady, who, placing the torn 
bonnet on her head, drove off. In the course of 
next day the milliner was besieged with orders for 
bonnets of the new and becoming style worn by Miss 
Maxwell ! 


A young farmer at Cumnock, Ayrshire, considered 
that the daughter of a neighbour at Auchinleck 
would suit him as a wife. Having made up his 
mind, he made proposals to the fair one without 
the usual preliminaries. The young lady's reply 
was, "Deed, Jamie, I'll tak' ye, but ye maun gie 
me my dues o' courtin' for a* that." 

Alexander Wood, the eminent Edinburgh surgeon, 
was fortunate, at an early period of his career, in 
winning the affections of a lady whose social posi- 
tion was at the time superior to his own. He waited 
on the lady's father, who was known in the city as 
" honest George Chalmers," and made known to him 
that he proposed to marry his daughter, Veronica. 
"On what do you mean to support her?" said Mr. 
Chalmers. Taking out his lancet, Mr. Wood replied, 
" I have nothing but this, and a determination to use 
it." "It is enough," said Mr. Chalmers, "Veronica 
is yours." 

Mr. William Eoger, of Eyehill, Perthshire, great- 
grandfather of the writer, was frequently employed to 
arbitrate in agricultural concerns. Though a person 
of substance and known probity, he had been, in an 
affair of arbitration, offered a bribe by both parties. 
The monies supposed to be the price of his conscience 
were sent him shortly before the period when he 
was to make his award. He placed the two budgets 
of guineas one in each pocket of his upper coat, and 
proceeded to meet the parties. Having taken his 
seat he said, striking his hands on his sides, " There 


is a rogue on this side, and a rogue on that, but an 
honest man in the middle." He then made his award, 
and drew forth the rogues from his pockets, which he 
returned to the owners. 

Dr. Guthrie relates the following : — A small crofts- 
man came to Mr. Linton, of the Grammar School of 
Brechin, with his son, a stripling, who had taken it 
into his head to obtain a little learning. The father 
said, " Oh, Mr. Linton, you see my laddie's fond o' 
lear.* I'm thinkin' o' making a scholar o' him." 
" Oh," said Mr. Linton, a what are you to make of 
him ? " " You see, Mr. Linton," was the father's 
reply, " if he gets grace we'll mak' a minister o' him." 
" But if he does not get grace," persisted Mr. Linton, 
" what will you make of him then ? " " Weel, in 
that case," replied the croftsman, resolving to repay 
Mr. Linton in his own coin, " I suppose we'll just 
hae to mak' him a schulemaster." 

An honourable baronet was canvassing the stew- 
artry of Kirkcudbright in the Conservative interest. 
Calling on a farmer to solicit his vote, he found 
that the object of his visit was not at home; but 
he obtained an interview with the farmer's daughter, 
and endeavoured to enlist her influence on his 
behalf. "I might try to induce my father to vote 
for you," said the damsel, * if you would get me the 
situation of maid of honour to the Queen." " I fear 
you would scarcely be fit for such an appointment," 
said the baronet. "That is," rejoined the damsel, "just 

* Learning. 


what my father was thinking respecting your being 
member for the stewartry." 

The Eev. Mr. Aitken, of St. Vigeans, was examin- 
ing a fisherman regarding his scriptural knowledge. 
Finding him very deficient, Mr. Aitken expressed 
his regret that a person of his age should be so 
ignorant respecting such important truths. " Weel, 
sir," said the fisherman, " just allow me to speir* a 
question at you. How many hooks will it tak' to 
bait a fifteen score haddock line ? " " Eeally, John," 
said the minister, " I cannot answer you ; that is quite 
out of my way." " Weel, sir, ye should na be sae hard 
upo' poor folk — you to your trade, an' me to mine." 

A story is related in a recent publication of an 
incident which occurred in a London clubhouse, 
when several gentlemen thought to discover the 
peculiar idiosyncrasy of the inhabitants of the three 
kingdoms by putting the same question to one indi- 
vidual of each. Three street porters were called in, 
these being natives of England, Ireland, and Scot- 
land. " What would you take," said the president 
to the Englishman, " to run three times round Eussell 
Square, stripped to the shirt?" "I'll take a pot o' 
porter, sir," was the reply. The question being put 
to the Hibernian, he shrugged his shoulders, and 
with the naivete of Irish humour exclaimed, " Sure 
I'd take a mighty great cowld." Sandy was next 
asked. He scratched his head, and archly replied by 
the cautious interrogatory, "What will ye gie me ?" 

* Ask. 


An elderly gentlewoman had employed the village 
mason to execute some work of repair. During his 
operations John repeatedly remarked that " it was a 
very stourie* job, and that he would not be the worse 
of something to synd -f* it down/' The bottle was at 
length produced, with a small thistle glass, which 
was filled a little way from the brim and handed to 
the mason. " Ye'll no' be the waur o' that, John," 
said the lady, congratulating herself on her liberality. 
"Atweel, no, mem," responded the mason, holding 
up the dwarfish glass ; " I wadna be the waur o' that 
though it had been vitriol." 

A country laird, riding in an unfrequented part of 
Kircudbrightshire, came to the edge of a morass, 
which he considered not quite safe to pass. Ob- 
serving a peasant lad in the vicinity, he hailed him, 
and inquired whether the bog was hard at the bottom. 
" Ou ay, quite hard," responded the youth. The 
laird passed on, but his horse began to sink with 
alarming rapidity. "You rascal," shouted the laird 
to his misinformant, " did you not say that it was 
hard at the bottom ?" " So it is," rejoined the rogue, 
" but ye're no halfway tilTt yet." 

" An old lady," says Dr. Guthrie, " was walking in 
Hanover Street, Edinburgh, with a large umbrella in 
her hand. A little urchin came up who had no cap 
on his head, but plenty of brains within ; no shoes 
on his feet, but a great deal of understanding for all 
that. Well, I saw him fix upon that venerable old lady. 
* Dusty. f Wash. 


He appealed to her for charity ; she gave him a grant. 
He went up again ; she gave him a poke. He saw 
there was no chance of getting at her through her 
philanthropy, and he thought to get at her through 
her selfishness; so he pulled up his sleeve to his 
elbow — his yellow, skinny elbow, — and running up, 
he cried out, displaying the limb, and exhibiting his 
rags and woeful face, ' Jist oot o' the infirmary wi' 
the typhus fever, mem/ The old lady put her hand 
to the very bottom of her pocket, and taking out a 
shilling, thrust it into his hand and ran away." 

Blind Alick, of Stirling, was blind from his birth, 
and his intellect, with the exception of one faculty, 
was an entire blank. But his memory was retentive 
to an extraordinary degree. A person who had once 
addressed him he remembered ever after. He had 
heard the Scriptures read in the different schools of 
the place which he was in the habit of visiting, and 
he could repeat almost the entire sacred volume, be- 
ginning at any chapter or verse. A gentleman, to 
puzzle him, read, with a slight verbal alteration, a 
verse of the Bible. Alick hesitated for a little, then 
told him where it was to be found, but said that it 
had not been quoted correctly; he then gave the 
proper reading. The gentleman next asked him for 
the ninetieth verse of the seventh chapter of Num- 
bers. Alick replied, " You are fooling me ; the chap- 
ter has just eighty-nine verses." 

Daft Jamie was a natural, well known on the east 
coast of Forfarshire. A farm servant was one day 


teasing him in a very provoking manner. " Ye ill- 
looking scoundrel," said the maniac, in a fit of wrath, 
" if I werena sure the Almighty made all mankind, 
I wad say ye were a coonterfeit." 

Some anecdotes on the score of simplicity will 
close the chapter. 

A Countess of Strathmore lost the friendship of a 
neighbour by her ignorance of Scottish modes of 
speech. Mr. Skene, of Carriston, was dining with the 
Earl and Countess at Glammis Castle. In the course 
of conversation the Countess remarked to her guest, 
" I have heard a great many persons say, Mr. Skene, 
that you are not to ride the water on. Pray what 
may they mean ? " " Oh, I suppose they mean," 
said Mr. Skene, " that my legs are so short, that if 
they were to cross a river on my back, they would 
get themselves wetted." Mr. Skene perceived that 
he had been represented to Lady Strathmore as one 
not to be trusted, and whether her ladyship had 
arrived at this explanation of the metaphorical 
language or not, he felt that it was better to decline 
in future the hospitalities of the castle. 

Dr. Glen, who resided in Edinburgh about the close 
of the last century, was extremely parsimonious, but 
was withal fond of popular applause. He was regular 
in attending church, and used to deposit his weekly 
charity in the collection plate in a column of copper 
pieces, which he laid down carefully, so that it might 
attract the attention of passers by. He presented the 
Orphan Hospital with a bell, so that his fame might 


be sounded abroad. When in company, if the bell 
happened to ring, he took occasion to remark its 
fine tone, and so introduce the subject of his gene- 

" What three things would you desire most to 
have ? " said a gentleman to a highlander. " For the 
first," he replied, " a Loch Lomond o' whisky." " And 
for the second what would you have ? " persisted 
the gentleman. " A Ben Lomond of sneeshin," * re- 
sponded Donald. " And what for the third ? " " At- 
weel," said Donald, after a little reflection, " I think 
I wad hae just anither Loch Lomond o' whisky." 

The almanack has only of late years been introduced 
in some of the isolated districts. The Ettrick Shep- 
herd has recorded that even in Selkirkshire, within 
a short distance of the capital, the natives, chiefly 
sheep farmers and shepherds, were wont to preserve 
the memory of occurrences in their personal and 
family history by enumerating them in connection 
with " the year of the great storm," " the summer of 
uncommon drought," and so on. The following was 
transcribed from the family Bible of a farmer in 
Watten parish, Caithness : — " Our Bessy was born on 
the day that John Cathel lost his grey mare in the 
moss. Jamie was born on the day they began 
mending the roof o' the kirk. Sandy was born the 
night my mother broke her leg, and the day before 
Kitty gaed awa' wi the sodgers. The twins, Willie and 
Margaret, were born the day Sandy Bremner biggit t 

* Snuff. t Built. 


his new barn, and the vera day after the battle of 
Waterloo. Kirsty was born the night o' the great 
fecht on the Beedsmas, in Barlan, atween Peter 
Donaldson and a south country drover ; forbye * the 
factor raised the rent that same year. Annie was 
born the night the kiln gaed on fire, six years syne. 
David was born the night o' the great speat,f and three 
days afore Jamie Miller had a lift frae the fairies." 

A clergyman was prosecuting his pastoral visita- 
tions. He came to the door of a house where his 
knock for admission could not be heard amidst the 
noise of contention within. After a little he stepped 
in, saying authoritatively, " I should like to know 
who is the head of this house ? " " Weel, sir/' said 
the husband and father, " that is just the point we've 
been trying to settle." 

There was a mixture of shrewdness and simplicity 
in the following. Shortly after the establishment of 
the Ministers' Widows' Fund, the minister of Cran- 
shaws asked in marriage the daughter of a small 
farmer in the neighbourhood. The damsel asked her 
father whether she should accept the clergyman's 
offer. " Oh," said the sire, " tak him, Jenny ; he's as 
gude deid as leevin'." The farmer meant that his 
daughter would, owing to the new fund, be equally 
well off a widow as a wife. 

That simplicity which develops in a blind and 
morbid obstinacy is illustrated by the following anec- 
dote: — A man and his wife were walking together 

* Besides. t Flood. 


near a farmyard at Troqueer, when they were at- 
tracted by the appearance of a well-dressed stack of 
hay. The man remarked that it was neatly pulled, 
while the wife insisted that it was " clippie" The 
controversial spirit was excited on both sides. The 
husband was wedded to his opinion, and the woman 
would not yield. " Clippit, I say ; I'll say it's clippit 
yet ; any one but a fule wad ken that it's clippit," are 
specimens of the rhetoric with which she regaled the 
ears of her offended lord. They were passing the 
farm mill-pond. The gentleman gave his obstinate 
helpmate a push, and she fell into the water. Be- 
lieving that she was about to perish, she held up two 
fingers, imitating the action of scissors, to intimate 
that even in death she would not surrender her 
opinion. She was dragged out of the pond, and 
having shaken herself, she exclaimed, "I'll say 
clippit yet." 

In Shakspeare Square, Edinburgh, some forty years 
ago, lived Lucky Johnston, mother of Harry John- 
ston, the famous theatrical humourist. One night 
during his engagement at the theatre, Lucky had 
invited a number of her cronies to supper, in honour 
of his visit. Harry told his drollest stories, which 
excited great merriment at the supper-table. A 
dame seated at the upper end of the table rose up, 
after a great explosion of laughter, and holding a 
handkerchief to her face, said, addressing the hu- 
mourist, " Maister Harry, ye maun excuse me for no 
laughin', for I hae got a sair mouth." 


Dr. Guthrie relates the following : — A woman went 
to her minister for advice. She said, " My husband 
and me don't agree. We quarrel very often. He 
comes in sometimes tired and ill-tempered, and I fire 
up. Then we go to it with tooth and nail/' u Well," 
said the minister, M I can cure that " " Oh, can you, 
sir ? I am so delighted, for I do love my husband, 
when a's come and gone," said she. " It's a certain 
cure," said the minister, "and will work a charm." 
* Oh, I am so happy to hear it," says she. " Well," 
continued the minister, u when your husband comes 
home from his work, fractious and quarrelsome, and 
says a sharp thing to you, what do you do ?" " Oh, 
I answer back, of course." "Very well," says the 
minister, " the singular charm is this : whenever your 
husband comes in and commences to speak sharply, 
the first thing you do is to run out to the pump, fill 
your mouth with water, and keep it in for ten 
minutes." The woman came back to the minister 
three or four weeks after, and said, " The Lord bless 
you, sir, for that's the most wonderful charm I ever 
heard o' ! Deed is't." 

Parish schoolmasters are, on their appointment, 
examined as to their literary qualifications. One of 
the fraternity being called by his examiner to trans- 
late Horace's ode beginning, — 

u Exegi monumentum sere perennius," 

commenced, " Exegi monumentum — I have eaten a 
mountain." "Ah," said one of the examiners, "ye 


needna proceed any further ; for after eatin sic a din- 
ner, this parish wad be a puir mouthfu' t' ye. You 
maun try some wider sphere/' 

A Government official was examining a military 
school. Desiring to ascertain the progress of the 
pupils in Scripture knowledge, he proceeded, " How 
long did Noah warn the inhabitants of the old world 
to repent?" The pupils hesitated. "One hundred 
years," said the official. "Now, children, can you 
tell me the names of the twin sons of Isaac?" 

" J acob and " said a little girl. " Yes, my child ; 

Jacob and ? Don't you remember ? why, Ishmael, 

my dear." The examiner remarked to the teachers 
that the children were most imperfectly instructed in 
Bible knowledge, and that he must withhold the 
usual holiday ! 

A desire to surprise by some new discovery is a 
failing of weak persons. A Scottish author, who has 
written a " Family History of England," has intro- 
duced an air as having been played by the band at 
Fotheringay Castle while Mary was proceeding to her 
execution, and which the writer remarks "a fortu- 
nate accident threw in my way." The air is no other 
than " Joan's Placket " arranged as a march ! It is 
scarcely requisite to say that no air was performed 
at the execution of the unhappy queen. A similar 
discovery was made by one Findlay, a printer at 
Arbroath, who, in reprinting Dr. Buchan's work 
on "The Cure and Prevention of Diseases," sub- 
stituted the word "Preservation" for "Prevention," 


which he alleged was the word evidently intended 
by the physician ! 

A clerical friend relates the following. When a 
student at St. Andrews, he and his companions 
frequented the workshop of a loquacious cobbler, 
who was a considerable humourist, and, according 
to his own account, no inconsiderable hero. The 
cobbler cured his own bacon, of which he had an 
ample supply arranged in the chimney of his one- 
roomed dwelling. Some of the students proposed to 
have a gaudeamus, or supper-party, before returning 
to the country, and it was resolved to seize one of the 
cobblers hams for the occasion. Three delegates 
engaged in the affair of capturing the ham, and 
for this purpose, one of the number, chosen by lot, 
descended the cobbler's chimney. He got safely to 
the floor, and having fastened a ham to his shoulders 
he proceeded to ascend. Losing his hold, he fell 
heavily. The noise awakened the sleeping shoemaker, 
who got out of bed and struck a light. Eetreat was 
impossible ; so the chimney descender blackened his 
face and looked as formidable as he could. "What 
are ye ? — where d'ye come frae ? — what d'ye want 
here ?" were questions which the cobbler put in rapid 
succession to the sooty-faced intruder. " I come from 
Pandemonium. Satan, my master, has sent me to 
you with the present of a ham," was the reply. " I 
defy the devil an' a' his works," said the cobbler. " I' 
the name o' a' gude begone." " Well," said sooty-face, 
" shall I blow the roof off your house, or will you 



light me to the door ?" The cobbler walked backwards 
towards the door, which he opened, allowing the in- 
truder to depart without further questioning. Next 
morning he missed one of his hams, but received a sum 
of money in its stead which more than compensated 
him for the loss ; but the cobbler ceased to obtain 
credit as one of the heroic. 

The following is a verbatim copy of a letter lately 
addressed by a poor woman to a Sheriff Substitute in 
one of the central counties. It illustrates the mis- 
taken reading of Scripture frequently to be found 
among the humbler ranks : — 

" Honored Sir, — When I saw you in the Watergit 
last Thursday, it was renning, and you were rinning, 
and I didna like to stepp you to spake about my boy. 
Sir, you promised to do for him, and you have not 
done for him, and i am not abel myself to keep him ; 
for his father does nothing for him, but gist goes 
about a vagaybond on the face of the airth. When i 
married him he was a respectible laeberer, and then 
turned spinner; but now, like Solomon's lillie, he 
neither toils nor spins, and i bees not able for to keep 
the boy. Sir, he is 5 yers of ag, and i will bring him 
to your honor next week. Sir, I remans till death 

" Your humbil Servant." 

These anecdotes may be summed up by a brief 
narrative of a recent movement. For some years 
Scotland had lacked her fair share of public grants 
and other national privileges. Discontent was gen- 


eral. A public meeting was held at Edinburgh. 
Eesolutions were passed, and the " National Associa- 
tion for the Vindication of Scottish Eights" was 
constituted. Under proper management something 
might have been accomplished, for the country had 
been suffering from Imperial neglect, or the indiffer- 
ence of her Parliamentary representatives. Unfortu- 
nately, the wise were content to initiate, and the weak 
were permitted to administer. An attorney discovered 
that there was a defect in the national shield — the 
Scottish Lion was in its wrong place ! The alleged 
grievance .was put forward prominently — too pro- 
minently for the cause of the "Eights." Eidicule 
assailed the movement from all quarters. Original 
promoters withdrew. Adherents fell off. The attor- 
ney was left to bemoan in solitude the decay of 
Heraldic science, and the degeneracy of Scottish 



" A thousand fantasies 
Begin to throng into my memory, 
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire 
And airy tongues that syllable men's names." 


" '♦Tis education forms the common mind, 
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." 


The maimers of a people are better indicated by the 
character of their floating traditions and their scat- 
tered rhymes than in the pages of their historians. 
Traditions denote the nature of the channel through 
which they have flowed. The rhymes of the people, 
whether inscribed or orally transmitted, may be 
held as the spontaneous utterances of their con- 
victions. Such simple lines had been forgotten 
unless they had contained the germ of truth. The 
quaint old inscription had suffered obliteration 
unless successive generations had found the senti- 
ment suited to their tastes. 

The older inscriptions are for the most part terse 
and emphatic protests against the utterances of 


calumny. The imaginative character of the Scottish 
mind had devised this method of attack against 
those who had awakened unkindly feeling, and were 
otherwise incapable of assault. In dealing with the 
early annals the national historian has experienced 
much difficulty in separating the wheat of truth 
from the chaff of fiction. The patriot Wallace ex- 
cited the invidious feelings of the nobility. His 
prowess was unassailable. The fervour and sincerity 
of his patriotism might not be challenged. The 
impugners therefore sought to arraign the honour of 
his private life. Marion Broadfoot, his lawful wife, 
they pronounced to be his mistress. 

Eobert II. espoused as his first queen the daughter 
of one of the lesser barons. The validity of his mar- 
riage was questioned. James III. adopted a life of 
literary and domestic seclusion; he was accused of 
incest. Queen Mary was imprudent, but she was 
most grossly slandered in the case of Eizzio. 

The prevalence of calumny in ancient Scotland 
may account for the numerous indictments for 
witchcraft, and the testimony by which they were 
supported. When a poor widow or other aged and 
unprotected female had offended her neighbours by 
angry words and unguarded menaces, they were 
prepared to ascribe to her every family mishap and 
personal calamity. They traced her presence in 
every startled hare, and swore they had seen her 
gambolling with the devil on the mountain heath, 
and preparing by incantation instruments of de- 


struction. During the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, calumny was one of the vices which most 
frequently called for the discipline of the Church. 

At the Eeformation, the unequal division of the 
Church lands among the nobility invoked much hos- 
tile feeling on the part of the disappointed. Calum- 
nies consequently arose against the fortunate. The 
Earl Marischal got the rich temporalities of the 
Abbey of Deer, and therewith a proportionate share 
of envy and detraction. He built a tower at Deer, 
on which he caused these words to be inscribed : — 

" They haif said— 
Quhat say thay ? 
Let them say." 

The Eegent Mar was even more defiant. He had 
received the temporalities of Cambuskenneth. He 
caused stones from the dilapidated structure to be 
removed to the Castle hill of Stirling, where he 
commenced to erect a superb mansion. To indicate 
his contempt for calumny and criticism, he caused 
metrical challenges to be sculptured above each of 
his three doorways. These are still legible. They 
proceed thus : — 

"I pray at lukaris* on this luging,f 
With gentil e to give thair juging." 

" The moir I stand on opin hitht % 
My faults moir subject are to sicht." 

" Espy, § speik furth and spair notht, 
Considder veil I cair nocht." 

* Onlookers. t Lodging. % Height. § See. 


Kobert Pitcairn, Secretary of State in the reign of 
James VI., and Commendator of the Abbey of Dun- 
fermline, had been assailed by calumny. He built a 
new residence at Dunfermline, and in allusion to the 
rumours which he knew to be circulated to his dis- 
advantage, he caused these lines to be inscribed in 
the front wall : — 

" Sin' verd * is thral and thocht is free, 
Keip veill thy tonge, I counsel thee." 

Over the entrance of an old house at Forglen, 
Banffshire, is the following: — 

" Do veil and dovpt + nocht 

Althoch thov be spyit ; 
He is lytil gvid vorth 

That is nocht envyit ; 
Tak thov no tent 

Qvht everie man tels ; 
Gyve thov vald leive ondemit % 

Gang qvhair na man dvels." 

In allusion to the invidious feelings engendered by 
success, the lady of Pringle, of Smailholm, caused 
these lines to be inscribed over the doorway of a 
mansion which she reared at Galashiels. The date 
is 1457 :— 

" Elspeth Dishington builted me 
In syne lye not ; 
The thyngs thou canst not gette 
Desyre not." 

The front wall of the old village inn at Darnick, 
Koxburghshire, exhibits the following : — 

* Word. f Despair. J Unenvied. 


" This is a good world to live in, 
To lend, to spend, and to give in ; 
But to get, or to borrow, or keep what's one's own, 
'Tis the very worst world that ever was known." 

On the death of Lord President Dundas, the house 
in which he resided was converted into a smithy. 
These lines were found on a piece of paper attached 
to the door : — 

" This house a lawyer once enjoyed 
A smith does now possess ; 
How naturally the iron age 
Succeeds the age of brass!' 1 

A trader in Stirling had formed the design of 
erecting an elegant residence in the principal street. 
He caused the escutcheon of his family arms to be 
displayed on the front wall. But his means failed, 
and he was necessitated to dispose of the walls 
to discharge the builder's charges. A neighbour 
some time after reared a lesser dwelling immediately 
adjoining. As a hit to the unfortunate trader, 
he caused the following lines to be inscribed on a 
large stone in the front wall of his house : — 

" Here I forbeare 

My name or armes to fix, 
Lest I or myne should sell 
Those stones and sticks. " 

Many of the older tombstones in the rural church- 
yards bear inscriptions sufficiently quaint. These 
lines were sculptured on a plain memorial stone at 
Leslie, Fifeshire: — 



u Here lyes the dust of Charles Brown, 
Some time a wright in London town. 
When coming home parents to see, 
And of his years being twenty- three, 
Of a decay with a bad host * 
He dyed upon the Yorkshire coast." 

Larbert churchyard, Stirlingshire, contained the 
following : — 

" Here lyes interred within this urn 
The corpse of honest good John Burn, 
Who was the eight John of that name 
That lived with love and dyed with fame." 

At Largs, the tombstone of a blacksmith bears 
these lines: — 

" Of all mechanics we have renown, 
Above the hammer we wear the crown.' ' 

The churchyard of Urquhart contains the follow- 

" Here lies father and son 
Goodsire and grand, 
Who liv'd and died 

Upon a poor twelfth of land." 

A magistrate of Montrose was commemorated in 
his parish churchyard by these lines : — 

" The pious, noble Bailie Scott, 
Montrose's honour high, 
Beside this pretty monument 
Interred here doth lie." 

In the same place of tombs the gravestone of a 
handloom weaver bears these lines: — 

" The weaver's art renowned is so 
That poor nor rich without it cannot go." 

* Cough. 


These lines were sculptured on a tombstone in the 
cathedral churchyard of St. Andrews : — 

" Here lyes James Brown, of old extract ; 
In fifty-five God did exact 
From him the debt that all must pay 
Who mortal are and made of clay." 

A ploughman's tombstone in the parish church- 
yard of North Berwick is inscribed thus : — 

" Oft have I till'd the fertile soil, 
Which was my destined lot ; 
But here, beneath this towering elm, 
I lie to be forgot." 

The honours of the village doctor are thus recorded 
in the churchyard of Saltoun, East Lothian : — 

" Beader, here lyes good Kobert Henderson, 
Physician, gardener, surgeon, — all in one ; 
In all which three such success he did have, 
That now, when gone, his virtues do require 
A monument more ample than is here." 

These lines are from the churchyard of Mel- 
rose : — 

" The earth goeth on the earth, 

Glistening like gold ; 
The earth goeth to the earth 

Sooner than it wold. 
The earth builds on the earth 

Castles and towers ; 
The earth says to the earth, 

All shall be ours." 

A burgh magistrate of Annan is thus commemo- 
rated : — 


" He thought it honour, with all his might, 
To pursue the ancient "burgh's right ; 
No man with bribes would, for his blood, 
Tempt him to hurt the common good : 
Let every one that him succeeds 
Think on his faithful words and deeds." 

A minister of Kirkpatrick- Juxta is, in the church- 
yard of that parish, thus commemorated : — 

" The Rev. Dr. Stewart's call to Mousewald 
Was turned into a call to another land." 

The following couplet is from a churchyard at 
Lockerbie : — 

" Praises on tombs are trifles vainly spent, 
A man's good name is his best monument." 

A plain couple have their unpretending virtues 
thus set forth on their gravestone at Torthorwald : — 

" They aimed at no titles, 

But honest and unstained characters ; 
None of them were rich, 
Neither were they poor." 

The following inscription from the churchyard of 
Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, is sufficiently quaint. It 
commemorates a prolific matron : — 

" Here lyes the corps of Agnes Harris, 
Spouse of Robert Cornon, also Mary, 
Agnes, Marion, Margaret in one birth, 
Robert, Andrew, James at one birth." 

In the churchyard of Wigton, a village merchant 
is commemorated in prose, and his son in these lines 
of verse : — 


u And his son John, of honest fame, 
Of stature small, and a leg lame, 
Content he was with portion small, 
Kept shop in Wigton, and that's all." 

In the old churchyard of Hamilton the epitaph 
of a seaman has this commencement: — 

" The seas he ploughed for twenty years, 
Without the smallest dread or fears ; 
And all that time was never known 
To strike upon a hank or stone." 

A miller's tombstone at Campsie is thus in- 
scribed : — 

" Eternity is 
A wheel that turns, 

A wheel that turned ever, 
A wheel that turns, 

And will leave turning never." 

The following is from the churchyard of Cults, 
Fifeshire :^ — 

" Here lies, retired from mortal strife, 
A man who lived a happy life ; 
A happy life, and sober too, 
A thing that all men ought to do." 

The following inscription adorned the tombstone 
of a noble lord at Kilmarnock: — 

" Here lies yat godly, noble, wise Lord Bo3^d, 

Who Kirk and King and Commons all eccor'd, 
Which were, while they this jewel all enjoy'd, 

Maintain'd, govern'd, and counsell'd by that Lord. 
His antient House so oft peril' d he restord, 

Twice six, and sixty years he liv'd ; and fine, 
By death the third of January devoid 

In anno thrice five hundred, eighty-nine." 



In the churchyard of Alves, Morayshire, a tomb- 
stone, bearing date 1590, is thus inscribed: — 

" Here lies 
Anderson of Pittensere, 
Maire of the Earldom of Moray, 
With his wife Marjory, 
Whilk him never displiscit ! " 

During a pestilence which visited Scotland in 
1644, many persons perished. One of the sufferers 
is commemorated in the churchyard of Brechin in 
these lines : — 

" Here lies John Erskine, 
Who died of the affliction ; 
No one must disturb his bones 
Until the Resurrection." 

The Howff, or old burial-ground of Dundee, for- 
merly contained many curious inscriptions. A 
number of these were obliterated when this old 
place of sepulture remained in a condition of neglect. 
About forty years ago Mr. Charles Eoger, an inge- 
nious antiquary, induced the authorities of the 
burgh to level the ground and arrange the tomb- 
stones. Since that period the Howff has been appro- 
priately enclosed and carefully kept. 

In the south-east corner of the Howff a tombstone 
is inscribed thus : — 

" The time will come when all must fall, 
Like Robert Paris — dead ; 
And may all meet the solemn call 
As we think Robert did." 


The tombstone of a Mr. Yeaman bears this coup- 

" To honor ye sepultor ve may be bald : 
Ve lerne of Abraham ovr father avid." 

Bailie William Watson is thus commemorated : — 

" Approach and read not with your hats on, 
For here lies Bailie William Watson 
Inclosed within a grave that's narrow. 
The earth scarce ever saw his marrow 
For piety and painful thinking, 
And moderation in his drinking ; 
And finding him both wise and witty 
The Town of him did make a Bailie/ ' 

The tombstone of Patrick Gourlay, town clerk of 
Dundee, who died in 1666, bears these lines : — 

" This Clerk was calm and kind to persons all, 
His Goodness and his candour were not small ; 
His Life prov'd this unto the very end, 
When trembling joints his quill could not extend. 
Painful and wise, meek, faithful ; and his days 
Closed in honour and immortal praise. 
Son, in his Father's steps, and loving Spouse 
Built up this Tomb for the dear defunct's use.'' 

Captain Alexander Baxter thus inscribed the grave- 
stone of his daughter Katherine,who died in 1632, in 
her seventeenth year : — 

" Stay, Passenger ; no more for Marvels seek, 
Among these many Monuments of Death ; 

For, here a Demi-scot, a Demi-greek 

Doth lie, to whom the Cretan Isle gave Birth. 

And is it not a wonder ? Is it not ? 

Her Birth and Burial to be so remote. 

So falls, by Winter-blasts, a Virgin-rose ; 



For blotless, spotless, blameless did she die : 

As many Virtues Nature did disclose 

In her, as oft in greatest Age we see. 

Ne're Jason glor'd more in the golden Fleece 

Than her brave Sire in bringing her from Greece." 

Kobert Davidson of Balgay, an ancestor of the 
writer, who died in 1663, was commemorated by his 
widow in these words : — 

"Here you behold great Davidson in Dust 
In charges all, was faithful to his trust ; 
A famous Bailie, greatest was his Praise, 
He sober, wise and harmless in his ways ; 
Sharp Wit and Cheerful Countenance, yea he 
A noble Pattern of all Honestie. 
To whom his dearest wife caus'd cut this Stone, 
For his Memorial lasting and her own." 

In the Howff of Dundee, William Playfair, another 
connexion of the writer, is celebrated thus : — 

" Beneath this Stone survivors did inter 
The Breathless Corps of William Playfair, 
He was not fully eighteen years of age 
When he, of flow' ring worth, quit the stage ; 
Some Golden Beams of Heavenly virtues strove 
To hold his life unstain'd — His thoughts on things above." 

The Howff formerly contained a gravestone with 
the following inscription : — 

" Here, in this urne, good Andrew Cochran lies, 
Sober and painful, harmless in his ways. 
Here also Eupham Couper his dear spouse, 
Of good Report, a Monument did chuse. 
Both void of Guile ; Pairs in Sobriety ; 
Both loving virtue, with Integrity. 
Lastly, who equal were, in holy Life, 
Here sleep together, godly Man and Wife." 


The memory of Andrew Schippert, baxter burgess 
of Dundee, who died in 1641, is thus celebrated: — 

" Nathaniel's Heart, Bezaleel^s Hand, 
If ever any had ; 
Then boldly may ye say, had he 
Who lieth in this Bed." 

A marble monument which marked the last rest- 
ing-place of Bailie Andrew Forrester, of Dundee, 
bore these lines : — 

" My Soul to Heav'n is gone; 
My Body made of Clay, 
Lies rotting here under this Stone, 
Till the uprising day." 

A skipper's gravestone was inscribed thus : — 

" Here, underneath this Stone, 
Lies Skipper George Adamson, 
Who died Anno Eighty-four, 
And was of age Three and threescore." 

In 1819, a tombstone bearing the following inscrip- 
tion, with the date 1628, was found in the Howff : — 

" Epyte Pie, 
Here ly I, 
My twentie bairnes, 
My good man & I." 

Captain Henry Lyell, of Blackness, was thus cele- 
brated on a tablet in one of the Dundee churches : — 

" To Solomon's temple, king Hiram sent from Tyre 
Fine cedar- wood ; but upon great desire, 
This church, thou Henry Lyell, to repair, 
Didst freely give all that was necessar ; 
Tho' th' Syrian king gave Sol'mon towns twice ten, 
Thou greater than these all, and best of men." 



David Kinloch, a physician, and the descendant of 
an ancient family, is in the churchyard of Arbroath 
thus celebrated. He died in 1617 : — 

" Gallant Kinloch ! his famous ancient Race 
Appear by this erected on this place ; 
This Honour great indeed ! His Art and skill 
And famous Name both sides o' the pole do fill." 

A country farmer is thus commemorated on his 
tombstone in the churchyard of Newtyle : — 

" Here lies the dust of Robert Small, 
Who when in life was thick, not tall ; 
But what's of greater consequence, 
He was endowed with good sense." 

Gilbert Quittet, town clerk of Forfar, who died in 
1594, was commemorated in the following couplet : — 

u Hier Sleeps unto the Secund Lyfe 
A Faithful man to Friend and Wyfe." 

John Eandal, a publican, was celebrated thus : — 

u Here old John Randal lies, who telling of his Tale, 
Liv'd threescore years and ten, such Virtue was in ale. 
Ale was his meat, ale was his drink, ale did his heart revive ; 
And if he could have drunk his ale, he still had been alive." 

These quaint lines were inscribed on the tombstone 
of Alexander Speid in a churchyard in Forfarshire: — 

" Time flies with speed ; With speed Speid' s fled 
To the Dark Regions of the dead. 
With Speed Consumption's Sorrows flew, 
And stopt Speid' s speed, for Speid it slew. 
Miss Speid beheld with Frantic woe, 
Poor Speid with Speed turned pale as snow ; 



And beat her breast, and tore her hair, 
For Speid, Poor Speid was all her care. 
Yet learn of Speid with speed to flee 
From Sin, since we like Speid must die." 

Two unamiable characters have been thus described 
in their epitaphs : — 

" Here he lies, beside a Witch, 
Hated both by Poor and Rich. 
Where he is, or how he fares, 
No-body knows, no-body cares." 

' ' Here fast asleep lies Saunders Scott, 

Lang may he snort and snore ; 
His bains are now in Gorman's pot, 

That us'd to strut the streets before. 
He liv'd a lude and tastrel Life, 

For gude he nae regarded ; 
His perjur'd clack rais'd mickle strife, 

For whilk belike he'll be rewarded. 
Ill temper' d Loon, that us'd to snort 

When ilk his Neighbour fell in trouble, 
His gybes do now lie in the dirt, 

To satisfy his brethren double." 

Above the gateway of Footdee churchyard, Aber- 
deen, is the following inscription : — 

" George Davidson, elder, civis Aberdonensis, 
Bigged thir churchyard dykes upon his own expenses." 

A similar inscription is placed on the tombstone 
of a sailor at Deckford, near Cullen. 

Marjery Scott died at Dunkeld in 1728, at the 
age of an hundred. An epitaph was composed for 
her by the poet, Alexander Pennecuik. It proceeds 
thus : — 



" Stop, passenger, until my life you read, 
The living may get knowledge from the dead. 
Five times five years I led a virgin life ; 
Five times five years I was a virtuous wife ; 
Ten times five years I lived a widow chaste ; 
Now tired of this mortal life I rest. 
Betwixt my cradle and my grave have "been 
Eight mighty kings of Scotland and a queen. 
Full twice five years the Commonwealth I saw ; 
Ten times the subjects rise against the law ; 
And, which is worse than any civil war, 
A king arraigned before the subjects' bar ; 
Swarms of sectarians, hot with hellish rage, 
Cut off his royal head upon the stage. 
Twice did I see old prelacy pulled down, 
And twice the cloak did sing beneath the gown. 
I saw the Stuart race thrust out ; nay, more, 
I saw our country sold for English ore ; 
Our numerous nobles, who have famous been, 
Sunk to the lowly number of sixteen. 
Such desolation in my days have been, 
I have an end of all perfection seen." 

Some other instances of longevity may be quoted. 
Eobert Bain died at Lochee in April, 1867, at the 
age of 108. At the same age, Charles Craig, a weaver, 
died at Dundee in 1817. There was living at Glas- 
gow in 1731 one Eobert Lyon, aged 109. He had 
obtained a new set of teeth, and had recovered his 
sight in a wonderful manner. The newspaper obi- 
tuary of the period records the death, on the 19th 
November, 1731, of William Eadie, sexton of the 
Canongate, Edinburgh, who had reached his 120th 
year. He had been a freeman of the city for ninety 
years, had buried three generations of parishioners, 


and had married his second wife, a young woman, 
after he had attained his hundredth year. Peter 
Garden died at Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, about the 
year 1780. In his 120th year he married his second 
wife, and danced gleefully on the occasion. He re- 
membered having seen the Marquis of Montrose, 
whom he described as " a little black man, who wore 
a ruff, as the ladies do now-a-days." 

The sign-boards and finger-posts of the past genera- 
tion often exhibited much absurdity of diction. At 
the entrance of a lane in the Canongate, Edinburgh, 
a sign-board was inscribed, " Deafness cured down this 
close every morning between six and eight." At the 
foot of Candlemaker Eow, Edinburgh, a board was 
exhibited, stating that down the close " ass's milk 
from the cow " would be had three times a day. On 
the wall of Newbattle Park a board contained this 
serious intimation, — " Any person entering these en- 
closures without permission will be shot and prose- 
cuted." At a spot where several roads branched off* 
from the turnpike, a finger-post contained some direc- 
tions for tourists, with this addition, " If you cannot 
read, ask at the blacksmith's shop." 

Of the numerous provincial rhymes, the more 
curious are subjoined. The following eight are con- 
nected with the state of the weather : — 

" February fills the dyke 
Either with black or white.'* 

" April showers 
Mak May flowers." 



" March dust and May sun 
Mak corn white and maidens dun.'* 

" Till May he oot, 
Change na a cloot." * 

" Mist in May and heat in June 
Mak the harvest richt soon." 

" As the day lengthens 
The cold strengthens.' ' 

" A rainbow in the morning, — sailors, take warning ; 
A rainbow at night is the sailor's delight." 

" The evening red and the morning gray 
Are the certain signs o' a beautiful day." 

There are rhymes descriptive of certain localities. 
These are specimens : — 

" Glasgow for bells, 
Lithgow for wells, 
Falkirk for beans an' peas." 

" Carrick for a man, 
Kyle for a coo, 
Cunningham for corn an' here, f 
And Galloway for woo." % 

" Ordweil 's a bonny place, 
Stands upon the water ; 
Drakemyre 's a scaw'd § place, 
Eotten tripe and butter." 

" Hutton for auld wives, 

Broadmeadows for swine ; 
Paxton for drunken wives 
And saumon sae fine." 

* Change no clothes. 

t Barley. 

% Wool. 

§ Faded. 


11 Gowkscroft and Barnside, 
"Windy-wallets fu* o' pride ; 
Monynut and Laikyshiel, 
Plenty milk, plenty meal ; 
Straphunton mill and Bankend, 
Green cheese as rough as bend ; 
Shannabank and Blackerstane, 
Pike the flesh to the bane ; 
Quixwood and Butterdean, 
Fu' o' parritch to the een." 

A well-known rliyme is connected with Tintock 
Hill, in Lanarkshire: — 

" On Tintock Tap there is a mist, 
And in that mist there is a kist, * 
And in the kist there is a caup,f 
And in the caup there is a drap ; 
Tak up the caup, drink off the drap, 
And set the caup on Tintock Tap." 

The more remarkable rivers have been associated 
with rhymes. These are three specimens : — 

" A crook o' the Forth 
Is worth an earldom o' the north." 

(i Annan, Tweed, an' Clyde, 
Rise a' out o' ae hill-side." 

' i Prosin, Esk, and Carity, 
Meet a' at the birken buss o' Inverarity." 

Certain bridges are thus celebrated : — 

" Lochtie, Lothrie, Leven, and Orr, 
Bin a' through Cameron brig bore." 

"The new brig o' Doon, and the auld brig o' Callander, 
Four- and- twenty bows in the auld brig o' Callander." 

* Chest. 




" Brig o' Balgownie, black's your wa', 
Wi' a wife's ae son an' a mear's ae foal 
Doun ye shall fa'." 

With respect to the prophecy embodied in the last 
of these rhymes, Lord Byron records that, as the 
only son of his mother, he was deeply impressed by 
it in boyhood. An Earl of Aberdeen, also the only 
son of his mother, always dismounted from his horse 
and walked across Balgownie Bridge, causing the 
animal to be brought up by his servant. 

Prophetic rhymes have maintained a powerful 
influence on the popular mind. One of those con- 
nected with Craig Clatchart, in Fife, predicted that 
a massive basaltic column, which rose up in front of 
that rock, would fall upon a nobleman riding on 
a white horse. About twenty years ago it was found 
necessary to remove the column during the con- 
struction of a line of railway. Before the commence- 
ment of operations the late Earl of Leven rode on a 
white horse in front of the column, with the view of 
dissipating the popular credulity. It has been stated 
that an episcopal clergyman at St. Andrews, of the 
last century, conceived he was the subject of a 
metrical " saw" to the effect that the ancient wall of 
the abbey would fall upon the wisest man of the 
place. He could on no account be persuaded to 
approach within range of the erection. 

The most celebrated prophetic rhyme connected 
with family concerns is the following relating to an 
old family in Boxburghshire : — 


" Tide, tide, whate'er betide, 
There'll aye be Haigs in Bemersyde." 

Certain localities have been celebrated in con- 
nection with their staple trades, their physical con- 
dition, or the habits of their inhabitants. The 
following are examples: — 

" The sutors o' Selkirk, 
The Kilmarnock wabsters,* 
The lang toun o' Kirkcaldy, 
Bonny Dundee, 
Lousie Lauder, 
Drucken Dunblane, 
Brosie Forfar." 

The common saying applied to those who affected 
gentility, " They're queer folk no to be Falkland folk," 
bore reference to the superior manners of the people 
of Falkland, owing to their residing in the immediate 
vicinity of a royal palace, which was a frequent resi- 
dence of the sovereign and his court. A person 
supposed to be overreaching his neighbour was 
addressed, " Go to Freuchie." The saying seems to 
have originated from the practice of offending cour- 
tiers being dismissed from the neighbourhood of the 
palace at Falkland to a hamlet several miles off 
which bears the name. 

The inhabitants of different districts are charac- 
terized by such expressions as "The men o' the 
Merse," "The folk o' Fife," and "The bairns o' 
Falkirk." " Jethart or Jeddart justice " was a pro- 
verbial phrase, having reference to the border thieves 

* Weavers. 



being frequently hanged by the municipal authori- 
ties of Jedburgh without receiving the benefit of a 

Some Scottish families have been described with 
reference to the qualities of their more conspicuous 
members. The following list has been arranged 
alphabetically : — 

The Sturdy Armstrongs, 

The trusty Boyd's, 

The greedy Campbells, 

The dirty Dalrymples, 

The lying Dicks, 

The famous Dicksons, 

The lucky Duffs, 

The bauld Frasers, 

The gallant Grahams, 

The haughty Hamiltons, 

The handsome Hays, 

The muckle-backit Hendersons, 

The jingling Jardines, 

The gentle J ohnstones, 

The angry Kerrs, 

The light Lindsays, 

The black Macraes, 

The wild Macraws, 

The brave Macdonalds, 

The fiery Macintoshes, 

The proud Macneils, 

The false Monteiths, 

The manly Morrisons, 

The gentle Neilsons, 

The bauld Rutherfords, 

The saucy Scotts, 

The proud Setons, 

The puddling Somervilles, 

The worthy Watsons. 


Notable persons in country districts have been 
celebrated with reference to their real or supposed 
qualities. A farmer's wife in the parish of Foulden, 
Berwickshire, has been celebrated in these lines : — 

" The trusty gudewife o' Whitecornlees, 
She never faikit * — she never faikit ; 
She milked the ewes, the bannas t she bakit ; 
She darn'd, she span, she sewed, she shapit ; 
She kirn'd the kirn, she made the cheese ; 
She mucked the byre, she riddled the corn ; 
She carded the woo, she redd up the barn ; 
She fother'd the pigs and the hens i' the morn, 
And ne'er took a minute o' rest or ease ; 
She made the parritch in hay -time and hairst, 
And boilt the kail for the shearers' dinner ; 
Ye ne'er could wrang her at ony birst, % 
She was foremost ay, and ay was a winner, 
The trusty gudewife o' Whitecornlees." 

One Mrs. Christian Bell, who lived somewhere 
in the Merse, received quite an opposite character 
from the "gudewife o' Whitecornlees." Thus pro- 
ceeds the rhyme : — 

" Clarty Kirstan's cheese and butter 
Wad gie a Hielandman the scunner ; § 
Clarty Kirstan's brose and kail 
Wad mak a sow to turn her tail ; 
Clarty Kirstan's milk and whey 
Wad mak you scunner ilka day, 
Lapper'd|| milk and singitU so wens, ** 
Mauky ft kail \vi' mony stowens; 
Rampan J J bread and parritch muddy, 
Stinkin' braxy, teugh as wuddy, 

* Stopped. f Bannocks. % Undertaking. § Disgust. 
|| Coagulated. H Burnt. * * Pottage of meal seeds, 

ft Full of maggots. X% Sour. 



Wad staw * the deil, or Simon Sivis, 
Clarty f h irstan, midden mavis, 
Rub your gruntle J wi' a docken, 
An we'll away and hae our yoken." 

The lasses of various parishes in the Merse are 
thus described : — 

4 i The lasses o' Lauder are mim § and meek, 
The lasses o' the Fanns smell o' peat reek, 
The lasses o' Gordon canna sew a steek, 
The lasses o' Earlstoun are bonny and braw, 
The lasses o' Greenlaw are black as a, craw, 
The lasses o' Polwarth are the best o' them a'." 

Certain farm homesteads in the parishes of Buncle 
and Chirnside are also celebrated for their fair 
maidens : — 

" Little Billy, Billy Mill, 
Billy Mains, and Billy-hill, 
Ashfield, and Auchinoraw, 
Butterhead, and Pefferlaw, 
There's bonnie lasses in them a'." 

There is an old rhyme, which obtains in many 
districts, descriptive of the marvellous activities of 
Sir William Wallace : — 

" Wallace wight, upon a nicht, 
Coost || in a stack o' here, 
An' in the morn at fair daylight 
It was meltit IT for his meare." 

Some of the older toasts were sufficiently quaint. 
" Horn, corn, wool, and yarn," was abundantly com- 
prehensive. "May ne'er waur be amang us;" 
" Health, wealth, and wit ; " " May the moose ne'er 
leave our meal pock wi' the tear in its e'e," were 

* Surfeit or disgust. f Dirty. J Face. § Prudish. 
II Cast or took. IT Thrashed. 


quaint sentiments which delighted rustic assemblies. 
Some metrical toasts may be quoted : — 

" The deil rock them in a creel 
Wha dinna wish us a' weel. 

" May we a' be canty and cosy, 
May each hae a wife in his bosie ; 
A cosie hut an' a cantie hen 
To couthie* women and trusty men." 

A Scottish author relates that three maiden ladies 
met annually on the tenth of June to celebrate the 
birthday of the old Pretender. On the glasses being 
charged the lady president opened with — 

" Here's the king, oor nain f king." 

The second lady gave — 

tt Here's to him that has the right, 
And yet received the wrang, 
Has five shillings in his pouch, 
And yet he wants a crown." 

Then followed the third, the most thoroughly 
Jacobite of the triad: — 

" Here's to him that's out, 
And no to him that pits him out ; 
And deil turn a' their in sides out 
That disna drink this toast aboot." 

Mr. Eeid, of the well-known publishing firm of 
Bell and Brash, Glasgow, had a remarkable gift of 
impromptu rhyming. During the agitation conse- 
quent on the proceedings of the Addington Adminis- 
tration in regard to the corn laws, he addressed to 

* Affectionate. f Own. 



the Prime Minister an expressive epistle in these 
lines : — 

" I entreat you, Mr. Addington, 
Look to the prices at Haddington. " 

Among Mr. Keid's papers a parcel was found with 
this docquet, — 

" Anent the hobble 
With Joshua Noble. " 

Messrs. Dewar and Scott were two rhyming shop- 
keepers in Edinburgh. They frequently afforded to 
each other proofs of their mutual predilections. Mr. 
Scott called on his neighbour, Mr. Dewar, to ask 
change for a bank note. He said, — 

" Mister Scott, 
Can you change a note P" 

Mr. Scott, proceeding to his money-drawer, re- 
plied : — 

" I'm not quite sure, but I'll see; 
Indeed, Mr. Dewar, 
It's out of my power, 
For my wife's away with the key." 

Hugo Arnot, the historian of Edinburgh, was the 
most emaciated specimen of mankind. He pub- 
lished an " Essay on Nothing," which led the Hon. 
Andrew Erskine (brother of Lord Kellie) to com- 
pose, at his expense, the following epigram: — 

" To find out where the bent of one's genius lies 
Oft puzzles the witty and sometimes the wise. 
Your discernment in this all true critics must find, 
Since the subject's so pat to your body and mind." 


There is a schoolboy game in Berwickshire in 
which these lines are repeated : — 

" I, Willie Wastle, 
Stand firm in my castle, 
And a' the dougs in your toun 
Can no ding Willie Wastle doun." 

According to tradition, this rhyme was sent by Cock- 
burn, the governor of Home Castle, in answer to a 
summons of surrender sent by Fenwick, who com- 
manded a party of Cromwell's soldiers. 

Mr. John Boss, minister of Blairgowrie, was re- 
markable for his quaint utterances in the pulpit. 
A portion of his parishioners, from a highland and 
outlying portion of his parish, came to church armed, 
much to the annoyance of Mr. Boss, who frequently 
heard of affairs of bloodshed on their homeward 
journeys. In order to induce them to abandon 
their weapons, as well as to lower their self-esteem, 
he used these expressions in the course of a ser- 
mon : — 

" Ye men o' Mause, 
Ye come down wi' dirks an' wi' spears, 
But when the mouse in yer tubs drakes her diblet,* 
Poor beastie, her een fa' in tears." 

When tea was first introduced into Scotland, the 
proper application of the leaf was misunderstood. 
There are many anecdotes related of farmers' wives 
boiling the leaves and presenting them to their 
guests to be eaten with bread and butter. A farmer 

* Places her mouth. 



is thus represented as having had his gift of a pound 
of tea to his wife most ungratefully received : — 

" I coft # my wife a pund o' tea, 
And boiled it weel as weel could be, 
Then chopt it up wi' butter fine, 
And made it sweet as saps o' wine ; 
But still she gloom' d as black's a craw, 
And wasna pleas' d wi't after a'." 

Bees were formerly reared extensively in Scotland, 
the produce of the hives constituting an important 
article of cottage merchandise. Mr. James Playfair, 
minister of Bendoehy, formed the benevolent design 
of preparing a work on the management of the apiary, 
which he conceived would prove of essential service 
to the cottage population. In order that he might 
dedicate his entire energies to the preparation of 
the work, he devolved his parochial duties on a sub- 
stitute, and, regardless of cost, sought everywhere 
for such information as might elucidate his sub- 
ject. His volume was at length prepared, and it 
was about to be issued under the auspices of an 
eminent publishing house in the metropolis. But 
an accidental conflagration in the printing office 
destroyed every portion of the manuscript ; and as 
the reverend author had destroyed his notes, the 
loss was irreparable. A facetious neighbour, to 
whom Mr. Playfair had read a portion of his work, 
said he could so far help him to recall the contents 
of the consumed manuscript. He remembered the 
motto : — 

* Purchased. 


" The todler tyke has a very gude byke, 
And sae has the gairy bee ; 
But leeze me on the little red-doup, 
The best o' a' the three." 

Some juvenile rhymes may be quoted. When 
children mount on each other's backs in the play- 
ground they are wont to say, — 

" Cripple Dick upon a stick, 
Sandy on a sow, 
Ride awa' to Gallowa' 
To buy a pund o' woo." 

Herds and shepherds sing these rhymes : — 

" Fish guts and stinkin' herrin' 
Are bread and milk for an Eyemouth bairn." 

" Tweed said to Till, 
What gars ye rin sae still ? 
Till said to Tweed, 
Though ye rin wi' speed, 

An' I rin slaw, 
Where ye droun ae man 
I droun twa." 

" Sunny, sunny shower, 
Come an' fa' half an hour ; 
Gar a' the hens cour, 
Gar a' the hares clap, 
Gar ilka wife o' Lammermoor, 
Put on her kail-pat." 

" Rainbow, rainbow, haud away hame, 
A' your bairns are dead but ane, 
And it is sick at yon grey stane, 
And will be dead ere ye win hame ; 



Gang owre the Drumaw,* and yont the lea, 
And down by the side o' yonder sea, 
Your bairn lies greetin' like to die, 
And the big tear-drap is in his e'e." 

A strong tendency on the part of provincial poets 
to indulge a vein of sarcasm, at the cost of public 
persons or obnoxious neighbours, has led to the 
production of some powerful verses, which, however, 
cannot be reproduced on account of the private feel- 
ings which they have outraged. This unfortunate 
bent of the Scottish mind should be repressed; it 
has enkindled the worst resentments, provoked duels, 
excited litigation, and laid the foundation of bitter 
and lasting animosities. 

* A hill in Berwickshire. 



" The man who consecrates his hours 
By vigorous effort and an honest aim, 
At once he draws the sting of life and death; 
He walks with nature, and his paths are peace.' ' 


An adventurous spirit is characteristic of a Scots- 
man. The Celts and the Cymbri celebrated liberty 
in their songs, but were unable to cope with 
those who pressed upon their soil. The lowland 
Scots, like their adventurous ancestors of Scandi- 
navia, bid defiance to the invader, and maintained 
their independence. Galgacus resisted and drove 
back the Eoman legions. Kenneth Macalpine 
checked the inferior races, and, rendering them 
obedient to his rule, established the permanent su- 
premacy of the Scottish sceptre. The valiant Wal- 
lace restored the national liberties by the arms of a 
few vigorous compatriots, and a band of unskilled 
but resolute followers. Eobert Bruce established his 
sovereignty by the force of a determined will, and 


by inspiring his troops with a share of his own 

Scottish national enterprise has in recent times 
been represented by such men as William Paterson, 
who projected the Darien scheme, and founded the 
Bank of England ; James Bruce, who discovered the 
sources of the Nile; Mungo Park, the African ex- 
plorer ; and the illustrious David Livingstone. " You 
are no doubt proud of your son," said the author of 
this work to the aged mother of the last-named tra- 
veller. " I am thankful for him," said the venerable 

The congratulatory odes addressed to King James 
on his accession to the English throne were legion. 
They were composed in Latin, English, and the 
Scottish vernacular. A panegyric in Latin hexameters 
particularly attracted the attention of the monarch. 
He was alike gratified by its complimentary charac- 
ter, and by the elegant language in which the compli- 
ments were conveyed. He invited the author to his 
court. His name was Eobert Aytoun, the younger 
son of a Eife laird, who had prosecuted classical study 
at St. Andrews, and had lately returned from follow- 
ing literary pursuits in France. Aytoun presented 
an agreeable exterior, and his manners were courtly. 
The king was much attracted towards him, and at 
once attached him to the court. He appointed him 
private secretary to the Queen, and afterwards be- 
stowed upon him a succession of honourable and 
lucrative offices. He was nominated a Gentleman of 


the Bedchamber, Master of Bequests, and Master of 
Ceremonies. He received the honour of knighthood, 
and was raised to the dignity of a Privy Councillor. 
When James published his " Apology for the Oath 
of Allegiance/' which he dedicated to Eodolph II., 
Emperor of Germany, and to the other princes of the 
German states, Sir Eobert Aytoun was entrusted with 
the duty of bearing copies of the royal work to those 
illustrious personages. On the decease of his royal 
patron, Aytoun found another friend in his successor. 
He was continued in all his offices, and was appointed 
Private Secretary to Queen Henrietta Maria. On 
the death of Sir Julius Caesar, in 1636, he was 
appointed by his royal mistress to the Mastership 
of St. Catherine. He attained other honours and 
emoluments. Having amassed a considerable fortune, 
he purchased an estate in Perthshire. He died in 
March, 1638, and was interred in Westminster 
Abbey, where a handsome monument, with an enco- 
miastic Latin elegy has been erected to his memory. 

Sir Eobert Aytoun was an elegant writer of English 
verse. He composed numerous short poems, songs, 
and sonnets. These he presented to his friends, 
without being careful to retain copies. They were, 
after his death, partially collected by his ingenious 
friend, Sir James Balfour. Two MS. collections of 
his verses are extant, one being in the library of the 
British Museum, and the other in the possession of 
the present writer. 

Early in the last century, Mrs. Douglas, widow of 


Mr. Archibald Douglas, minister of Saltoun, rented a 
small cottage in the burgh of Pittenweem, on the 
south coast of Fifeshire. Her only son engaged in 
trade, and when he attained manhood became a shop- 
keeper, or general merchant. But the sphere of busi- 
ness at Pittenweem was too limited for his energies, 
and in the hope of improving his circumstances he 
removed to London, where he opened the British 
Coffee-house in Cockspur Street. His family consisted 
of a son and daughter. The daughter assisted in the 
house ; the son studied at Oxford and took orders in 
the Church. In his twenty-third year the youth was 
appointed Chaplain of the 3rd Foot Guards, whom 
he attended in Flanders ; he afterwards obtained a 
curacy in the neighbourhood of Oxford. Many of 
the nobility frequented the coffee-house of Cockspur 
Street. Miss Douglas, who was now the landlady, 
was respected for her intelligence and her extreme 
attention to the comfort of her patrons. One day 
the Earl of Bath, who was an occasional visitor, re- 
marked to Miss Douglas that he was much concerned 
about securing a proper travelling companion for his 
son. The landlady modestly suggested her brother, 
and the Earl said he would inquire about his qualifi- 
cations. A favourable account was obtained, and 
the young clergyman was offered by Lord Bath the 
appointment of companion to his son, Lord Pulteney. 
Mr. John Douglas performed the duties assigned him 
so satisfactorily, that Lord Bath became his personal 
friend. Through his lordship's influence he procured 


a succession of ecclesiastical appointments, and at 
length attained the mitre. Dr. Douglas, Bishop of 
Salisbury, son of the Scottish coffee-house keeper, is 
known as one of the most learned and accomplished 
prelates of the Church of England. His lordship 
died in May, 1807. 

In the summer of 1759, John Home, author of 
"Douglas," was spending some weeks at the Moffat 
mineral Springs. In his peregrinations he met a 
Highland schoolmaster who had accompanied a pupil 
to the Wells. Home was much pleased by the in- 
telligence of his northern acquaintance. His regard 
was increased when he found that his new friend 
cherished poetical tastes, and had produced some 
respectable verses. The conversation turned on 
the poetry of the Highlands — Home expressing the 
opinion that the Gaels had always been an unlettered 
people. The Highlander dissented, and quoted some 
fragments of Highland minstrelsy which he said 
were translations from Celtic originals. Home was 
much interested, and requested his new acquaintance 
to supply him with some translations in MS., that he 
might show them to his literary friends in the capital. 
The translator complied. The Edinburgh savans were 
delighted and surprised, and Home was entreated 
not to lose sight of the ingenious Highlander. 

Mr. James Macpherson now presented himself in 
the capital, and was introduced by Home to the 
literary circles. Dr. Blair especially interested him- 
self in promoting the work of translation. Fragments 


of Gaelic poetry collected by Macpherson were pub- 
lished under his auspices in 1760. Soon after a 
literary dinner was held at Edinburgh, to which 
Macpherson was invited. Subscriptions were laid 
on the table to enable him to proceed on a tour 
through the Highlands to collect all the fragments 
of ancient poetry which might be procured. The 
result of these researches was published in two quarto 
volumes. Thus were the poems of Ossian given to 
the world. 

The discussion which arose as to the genuineness 
of these Ossianic poems was unprecedented. Persons 
of the greatest ability and learning were arrayed on 
both sides, and much angry feeling was expended on 
the part of the combatants. Meanwhile, the inge- 
nious schoolmaster who had published them was not 
forgotten. He was appointed private secretary to 
Captain Johnston, governor of Pensacola; an office 
from the duties of which he soon retired with a 
handsome pension. He established his residence in 
London, and devoted himself to literary pursuits. 
Two pamphlets from his pen in support of the 
Government, and against the claims of the American 
Colonies, were conducive to his further success. He 
was constituted agent to the Nabob of Arcot. In 
1780 he entered Parliament as member for Camel- 
ford. His death took place in his mansion of Belle- 
ville, Inverness-shire, in 1796, and his remains were 
interred in Westminster Abbey. Macpherson attained 
great opulence, and purchased a handsome estate 


The city of St. Andrews has long been celebrated 
for its educational advantages. About the year 1768 
a hairdresser of the place sent his son to the univer- 
sity, in the hope that he might be induced to study 
for the Church. The youth evinced an abundant 
aptitude for learning, but was withal wilful and 
headstrong. He quarrelled with a companion, and 
challenged him to mortal combat. The juvenile 
duellists borrowed two old firelocks, and therewith 
proceeded to a sequestered spot to justify their 
mutual honour. The seconds arranged that the party 
who should first fire should be chosen by lot. The 
priority fell to Mr. Bell, who discharged his weapon but 
missed his antagonist. Eealizing what might be the 
consequences of the encounter, the seconds interfered, 
and further conflict was prevented. The affair, how- 
ever, became known, and Bell, who possessed an ex- 
traordinary spirit of adventure, abandoned his college 
studies, and proceeded to Virginia. There he attracted 
the notice of a planter, who, perceiving his scholar- 
ship, placed two sons under his care, and gave him 
permission to travel with them to Scotland. Bell 
returned to his native city. The intervals in which 
he was not engaged with his American pupils he 
devoted to the study of medicine, which he prosecuted 
so successfully as to qualify himself for a degree. 
He next thought of taking orders in the Church of 
England, as affording a wider field for preferment 
than the Church of his native country. Through the 
influence of Mr. Dempster, Member of Parliament, he 


was appointed chaplain to Fort St. George, Madras ; 
he accordingly proceeded to India. 

At Madras, Dr. Bell originated the Monitorial 
method of instruction which has become associated 
with his name. The development and extension of 
his system, together with the acquisition of money, 
became henceforth the main object of his life. His 
latter years were spent in England. He became 
founder of an educational institution in his native 
city, towards the erection and endowment of which, 
and the support of some kindred institutions, he 
bequeathed his fortune of £120,000. Dr. Bell died 
in 1832. 

In the closing year of the last century, a young 
Scotsman who had taught the parochial schools of 
Dunino and Kettle, in Fifeshire, proceeded to North 
America in the hope of procuring educational em- 
ployment. He reached Kingston, Canada West, 
where he discovered that certain hopes of prefer- 
ment which he had cherished could not be realized. 
Without a single acquaintance to recommend his 
efforts, he opened a school. The venture was only 
partially successful. He taught at Kingston about 
four years, when he took orders in the Episcopal 
Church. He now accepted the mission at Cornwall, 
where he founded an academy which he successfully 
conducted for nine years. In 1812 he received a 
clerical appointment at Toronto, where he likewise 
planted a seminary. 

From the outset of his American career, Mr. John 


Strachan, the Fifeshire schoolmaster, had formed 
the conception of a Canadian university. Aided by 
many of his former pupils, now in situations of influ- 
ence, he continued to advocate his scheme till 1827, 
when King's College, Toronto, was founded by royal 
charter. Eeligious differences prevailed, which led 
to the retirement of the founder from the institution. 
In 1851 he founded anew college at Toronto in con- 
nection with the Church of England. In 1839 he 
became Bishop of Toronto. Bishop Strachan still 
lives ; he has attained his ninety-third year. 

Lord Gardenstone, a judge of the Court of Ses- 
sion, was a promoter of learning. He occupied a 
residence in the parish of Fordoun, Kincardineshire. 
The village schoolmaster, a young man lately ap- 
pointed, was represented to him as a learned person, 
but as possessing an eccentricity which bordered on 
derangement. Gardenstone wished much to see 
him, but hesitated to make the acquaintance of one 
who might prove troublesome. Walking one after- 
noon in a beautiful glen in the neighbourhood of his 
residence, he observed a young man writing with a 
pencil. He drew near to the stranger, who seemed 
in a profound reverie. Having indicated his pre- 
sence, his lordship proceeded to hail the stranger 
with a kindly greeting. The stranger, awakened 
from his fantasy, respectfully saluted his lordship, 
and announced himself as the village schoolmaster. 
Lord Gardenstone was much pleased with the appear- 
ance and manner of his new acquaintance. After a 


short walk with him he invited him to spend an 
evening at Gardenstone. When Lord Gardenstone 
had received several visits from his new friend with- 
out detecting any oddity, or other token of mental 
aberration, he ventured to inform him of the popular 
belief. The schoolmaster proceeded to explain that 
he was in the habit of composing poetry in the glen 
where his lordship had met him, and that he fre- 
quently repeated his compositions aloud. Besides, 
when meditating on his verses, he had repeatedly 
found himself to have been so engaged as to be un- 
conscious of surrounding objects. This must have 
originated the report of his insanity. His explana- 
tion was most satisfactory to the benevolent judge, 
who resolved forthwith to befriend one whose talents 
so evidently entitled him to preferment. His lord- 
ship introduced the poet to Lord Monboddo, who was 
equally attracted by his ingenuity and learning. 

In a few years, Mr. James Beattie, schoolmaster of 
Fordoun, was, under the strong recommendation of 
the Lords Gardenstone and Monboddo, promoted to 
a professorship in Marischal College, Aberdeen. Few 
Scottish professors have been more distinguished than 
the ingenious author of " The Minstrel." 

It was a subject of deep concern to the Eev. David 
Wilkie, minister of Cults, that his son, who bore his 
own Christian name, was so neglectful of his lessons. 
Three schools had been tried — Pitlessie, Kettle, and 
the Academy of Cupar ; but David was incorrigibly 
bent on ignoring scholastic knowledge. The walls, 


the kitchen pavement, the uncarpeted floors of his 
father's manse, and other places, bore evidence of his 
propensity to indulge in what seemed a perpetual 
pastime. Figures of men and brutes in all descrip- 
tions of attitude were scrawled, daubed, and deline- 
ated everywhere. Even in church, when his father 
was preaching, would the young rogue, unmindful of 
the sacredness of the place, be depicting on the blank 
leaves of his Psalm-book the more remarkable faces 
in the flock. Every sleeper was sure to find a place 
in his portfolio. 

The case was hopeless. The youth could never 
become a scholar. He might be a painter. He was 
recommended as a pupil in the Trustees' Academy at 
Edinburgh. The application for his admission was 
rejected. George Thomson, the Trustees' secretary, 
and the promoter of genius in the person of Eobert 
Burns, saw no genius in young David Wilkie. He 
pronounced an opinion that the lad was incapable 
of receiving instruction even in the most ordinary 
branches of his art. This was very discouraging to 
the worthy parson of Cults. His son was evidently 
unfitted for the pulpit, and by one who ruled the 
Scottish world of art the boy's best drawings were 
pronounced worthless. 

The sequel may be related in a few sentences. 
Private influence overcame the hostile adjudication 
of the Trustees' secretary. Young Wilkie became 
a pupil in the Trustees' Academy, and obtained a 
prize. At the age of twenty he proceeded to Lon- 


don, and painted vigorously for his support. His 
paintings soon became known, and brought him fame 
and emolument. He became, in the words of Hay- 
den, "the Baffaele of domestic art." He was at 
length elected a Boyal Academician, and received 
the honour of knighthood. The name of Sir David 
Wilkie is familiar to every Scotsman. This distin- 
guished painter died in 1841, in his fifty-fifth year. 

John Campbell, son of the minister of Cupar, re- 
fused to study for the Church. Having obtained 
some acquaintance with the classics at St. Andrews 
University, he proceeded to London. He became a 
parliamentary reporter, and theatrical critic to the 
Morning Chronicle. Having saved a little money, he 
entered one of the Inns of Court, and was called to 
the bar. He became king's counsel. He entered Par- 
liament, was chosen Solicitor-General, and afterwards 
Attorney-General. The adventurous student of St. 
Andrews, who turned his back on the humbler aspira- 
tions of his forefathers, was raised to the peerage, and 
became Lord Chancellor. Lord Campbell died in 1861. 

When Eobert Burns visited Ellisland, a young man, 
employed as a farm labourer in the neighbourhood, 
procured books from the poet's library. The youth's 
taste for learning increased ; he sought employment 
in a joiner's workshop, and having saved a little 
money from his earnings, went to college. He 
studied medicine, and practised as a surgeon, first in 
Paisley and afterwards in Glasgow. This individual 
was Dr. Eobert Watt, author of the "Bibliotheca 


Britannica," the most remarkable work of the kind 
which has appeared in any country or age. Dr. Watt 
died at Glasgow r in 1819, at the age of forty-five. 

We now present some illustrations of Scottish enter- 
prise not generally known. About the year 1684, an 
agricultural labourer, named Macrae, died at Ochil- 
tree, Ayrshire. He left a widow and two children — 
a boy and girl. The widow removed to a suburb of 
the town of Ayr, where she obtained employment as 
a washerwoman. The son, James Macrae, was some- 
time a message-boy, and afterwards a cowherd. During 
his evening hours he received lessons in reading and 
other elementary branches from Hugh M'Guire, a 
maker of spinning-wheels, but who was better known 
as fiddler at the district merry-makings. This boy pos- 
sessed a restless spirit, and was always getting into 
scrapes. At length he disappeared. He had run off to 
sea. Forty years passed. In 1731, James Macrae, Esq., 
late Governor of Madras, arrived in the town of Ayr, 
and proceeded to make inquiry about Mrs. Macrae, 
the poor washerwoman, and the fiddler M'Guire. 
The former had long been dead, but M'Guire had 
married the widow's daughter, and four handsome 
girls had been born to them. Governor Macrae an- 
nounced himself as M'Guire's old protdg^, now his 
brother-in-law, and the uncle of his daughters. He 
handed a sum of money to the fiddler, and promised 
to attend to the education of his girls. The fiddler 
procured a loaf of sugar and a bottle of brandy, and 
scooping a hole into the loaf, and pouring in brandy, 


lie and his helpmate supped the sweetened liquor. 
Thus they felicitated themselves on their unexpected 
good fortune. 

The career of James Macrae, up to the period of his 
reappearance at Ayr, must be sketched. After a 
short seafaring career, he enlisted as a soldier, and 
was sent to India. By his good conduct he obtained 
a commission, and in due time obtained a field 
officers rank. He was subsequently employed in 
the commissariat. Being in the service of the East 
India Company, he was sent by the Directors on a 
special mission to an English settlement on the west 
coast of Sumatra. There his services proved effi- 
cient, and he was appointed by the Directors to the 
governorship of Fort St. David. On the 18th Janu- 
ary, 1725, he became Governor of Madras. He 
returned to Britain in 1731, with a fortune of one 
hundred thousand pounds. 

Governor Macrae now devoted himself to the 
welfare of his sister's family. He presented her 
husband with a farm, and sent the daughters to an 
approved place of education. They were educated 
in all the accomplishments of the time, and brought 
out in the first society. In 1744 the eldest married 
"William, thirteenth Earl of Glencairn. On this 
occasion Governor Macrae presented his niece with 
the barony of Ochiltree, which he had purchased 
for £25,000. He bestowed on her diamonds to the 
value of £45,000. The Governor's second niece 
married Mr. James Erskine, advocate, afterwards 


Lord Alva. She received the estate of Alva as her 
dower. The third daughter married her cousin, an 
illegitimate son of the Governor, and received the 
barony of Houston. Her husband is, as Captain 
Macrae, represented in " Kay's Edinburgh Portraits." 
He was a notorious duellist, and, having shot Sir 
George Eamsay in " an affair of honour," escaped 
from the country. The youngest niece succeeded to 
her uncle's estate of Orangefield, and married Mr. 
Charles Dalrymple, Sheriff Clerk of Ayr. 

Two public acts of Governor Macrae evince his 
patriotism. He erected an equestrian statue of 
"William III. at the Cross of Glasgow, at the cost of 
£3,000 ; and lent to the corporation of that city the 
sum of £5,000, to pay the amount levied upon them 
by Prince Charles Edward in 1745. He died about 
the year 1746, and was interred in the churchyard 
of Prestwick. 

James, Earl of Glencairn, the Governor s grand- 
nephew, was one of the first and most attached 
patrons of Eobert Burns. The Earl died in 1791, 
when the great poet lamented his departure in a 
touching ode. These are the concluding verses: — 

" The bridegroom may forget the bride 
Was made his wedded wife yestreen ; 
The monarch may forget the crown 
That on his head an hour has been ; 

" The mither may forget the bairn 

That smiles sae sweetly on her knee : 
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn, 
And a' that thou hast done for me." 


The loftiest mountain of the Ochils is Ben Cleugh. 
In the clefts of its elevated summit falcons were 
wont to build. In a sporting expedition in quest of 
those royal birds, James VI. met William Alex- 
ander, the young laird of Menstry, who had already 
made the tour of Europe, and acquired reputation 
both as a scholar and poet. He was a sprightly 
youth, and possessed elegant manners. The king 
invited him to Stirling Castle. His Majesty and 
young Alexander became fast friends. Alexander 
obtained honours and immunities from his royal 
patron. Having filled the minor offices of state, he 
obtained higher posts. He was ultimately created 
Earl of Stirling, and had conferred on him, for 
colonizing purposes, the territories of Canada and 
Nova Scotia, with the right of creating baronets. 
No subject obtained such privileges before or since. 
The Earl died at London in 1640, and was interred, 
with much pomp, in the High Church of Stirling. 

Eobert Menteith, minister of Duddingston, pro- 
fessed Arminian doctrines, and gave occasion for 
scandal in his private life. He resigned his charge, 
and, proceeding to France, sought and obtained 
admission into the Catholic Church. He attached 
himself to the service of M. de la Porte, Grand 
Prior of France, and afterwards obtained the friend- 
ship of Cardinal de Eetz, who bestowed upon him 
a canonry in Notre Dame. He cultivated the 
society of men of letters, and obtained a high posi- 
tion among the literati of Paris. Having been 



requested to name the Scottish family to which he 
belonged, he ingeniously styled himself one of the 
Menteiths of Salmonet, his father having been a 
salmon fisher at Stirling. Menteith is author of 
a posthumous work, entitled " Histoire des Troubles 
de la Grande Bretagne depuis Tan 1633 jusqu'en 
1649. Paris, 1661." An English translation of this 
work was published in 1735 by Captain James 

About the year 1570 the elders of the parish 
church of Stirling discovered that a bodle * had been 
removed from the collecting-plate. Inquiry was 
instituted, and the offender proved to be a small 
boy, the son of a respectable "baxter," or baker 
in the place. The young delinquent acknowledged 
his misdemeanour, and was so ashamed of what he 
had done that he suddenly left the place. His 
parents made every inquiry after him, but failed to 
obtain any information of his movements. After a 
time they concluded that he had perished. 

One Sunday in the spring of 1603, a military 
officer presented himself at a meeting of the Stirling 
kirk-session. He had come, he said, to offer some 
reparation for an offence which he had committed 
many years before, and which had weighed heavily 
on his conscience. He had taken a bodle from 
the collection-plate at the church door, and he 
now proposed by way of reparation to erect a manse 
for the first minister. His name was Colonel Edmond. 

* A coin, value the third part of an English halfpenny. 


The history of his career the colonel afterwards 
related. He was so stung with the disgrace he had 
brought upon his parents by his act of plunder, that 
he resolved to absent himself from his country till 
he should be able to wipe out his offence by some 
deed of liberality. Soon after leaving Stirling he 
had worked his passage to the Continent in a trading 
vessel. He afterwards joined the army of Maurice, 
Prince of Orange. By his prudent behaviour he 
rose in the service. He had attained a colonelcy, 
and was enabled to retire from military service with 
a handsome fortune. 

The colonel had the satisfaction to find both his 
parents alive after his long absence. He endowed 
them liberally, and proceeded to live under their 
roof. Whatever honours were offered him, he in- 
sisted that these should be shared by them. He 
presented a pair of colours to the corporation, which 
were used upwards of a century. When his parents 
were both dead, he formed a matrimonial connection. 
His family consisted of two daughters, one of whom 
married Sir Thomas Livingston, of Jerviswood, a 
cadet of the noble families of Callendar, Linlithgow, 
and Kilsyth. The eldest son of the marriage was 
commander-in-chief of the forces in Scotland, and 
was afterwards created Viscount Teviot. 

When Colonel Edmond was still in the service of 
the Prince of Orange, a native of Scotland, desirous 
of obtaining his favour, made up to him in presence 
of some of his brother officers, and saying he had 


just come from Scotland, added, "Tour cousin, my 

Lord , is very well, and your cousin Sir John." 

" Get you gone, you sycophant," said the colonel ; " I 
have no relations either lords or knights. My father 
is an honest baker in the town of Stirling/' 

About the close of the Eebellion of 1745-6, a 
Highland regiment was stationed in the town of 
Elgin. A private soldier of the regiment, named 
Anderson, married one Marjery Gilzean, a native of 
the place. The young woman's friends were much 
opposed to the match, and when it took place they 
deserted her. She left Elgin with her husband for 
some other military station, but returned to her 
native place about a year after, a widow, and with a 
little son in her arms. She was entirely destitute, 
and sought refuge for herself and her infant in the 
sacristy of the cathedral. An old font in the corner 
of the apartment was the child's bed. Marjery re- 
ceived with thankfulness the gifts of the benevolent, 
and devoted herself, with unceasing solicitude, to the 
care of her infant. 

The boy, whose name was Andrew Anderson, 
having attained a suitable age, was received as 
pauper pupil in the grammar school. In lieu of his 
services in lighting the fires and sweeping out the 
rooms, he received his education. He was afterwards 
apprenticed to an uncle on the father's side, a stay- 
maker, at St. Andrews Llanbride, the adjoining parish. 
Being harshly treated by this relative, he escaped 
from his service, and found his way to Leith, There 


he procured employment as clerk in the workshop of 
a merchant tailor. Having been sent with a suit of 
clothes to the residence of a military officer, that 
gentleman was struck by his intelligent aspect, and 
inquired as to his prospects. Finding that he had 
no definite views, the officer advised him to enlist in 
his own regiment, promising in that event to take 
him into his service. Anderson took the officer's 
counsel, and proceeded to India as a recruit. 

In 1811 an elderly gentleman arrived at the 
Gordon Arms Hotel, Elgin. Next morning he pro- 
ceeded to the cathedral ruins. He asked the sexton 
whether he knew where a poor woman, Marjery 
Gilzean, was interred ? " Na, I dinna ken," replied 
the gravedigger ; " she was a puir worthless craitur, 
naebody kens where she was buriet." " Unfortunate 
I know she was," said the gentleman, " but I never 
heard that she was worthless." The stranger was 
her son — now Lieutenant- General Anderson. Pos- 
sessing the faculty of readily acquiring languages, 
he had obtained employment as an interpreter. He 
received a commission, and rose step by step to the 
rank of a general officer. At the taking of Seringa- 
patam in 1799 he greatly distinguished himself. 

Having retired from the army, General Anderson 
settled in the neighbourhood of Elgin, his winters 
being spent in London. He died at London on the 
16th September, 1824. By a trust disposition exe- 
cuted in November, 1815, he assigned the whole of 
his heritable and moveable property to certain gentle- 


men in Elgin, for the purpose of founding and endow- 
ing an hospital in that town for indigent men and 
women, and likewise for establishing a School of 
Industry for the maintenance and education of male 
and female children of the labouring classes. Conse- 
quent on the provisions of the testamentary deed, an 
elegant building has been constructed at Elgin, in 
which three hundred persons, old and young, are now 
reaping the benefit of the General's munificence. 

The palace of James V. in the castle of Stirling- 
has its principal windows protected by interlaced 
iron gratings. These were executed at the instance 
of the Queen Dowager, Mary of Guise, owing to 
the unsettled condition of the country after the 
death of her royal husband, James V. The artificer 
was one Callander, a blacksmith of the town. He 
and his successors were constituted blacksmiths to 
the Eoyal Family ; but beyond this nominal distinc- 
tion they seem for several generations to have re- 
ceived no recompence for their services. There is 
a story that the son of Callander who constructed 
the gratings of the castle proceeded to London after 
the accession of James VI. to the English throne, and 
obtaining the royal mandate for payment of his 
account, presented it to the English treasury, and so 
obtained payment in sterling instead of Scottish 
money, whereby he was enriched. This tradition 
seems to be fabulous, for many years after, John 
Callander of Stirling is found making application to 
the Privy Council for payment of charges for work 


executed at Stirling and Edinburgh castles, of which 
" he had never yet received payment of a sixpence." 
The Privy Council ordered him to be paid £6,567 
17s. 2d., Scots money. This sum he made loan of on 
a wadset, or mortgage, to the proprietor of the estate 
of Craigforth. As the mortgage was not redeemed 
by the proprietor, John Callander afterwards took 
possession of the property. His grandson, John 
Callander of Craigforth, was an eminent scholar and 
ingenious antiquary. Two granddaughters of this 
gentleman obtained important marriages. One became 
the wife of Tom Sheridan ; the other married Sir 
James Graham of Netherby, the late distinguished 

In the middle of the last century there flourished 
in " the East Neuk " of Fife a retired general and 
county gentleman, who was the greatest man of 
his time in one department — that of card-playing. 
General Scott of Balcomie, for such were his name 
and title, received challenges to play from all parts 
of the kingdom. When his competitors were rich, 
he would have hazarded his own estates against 
theirs. He always came off winner. He amassed an 
immense fortune, and got possession of estates in 
various parts of the kingdom. 

The facility with which young noblemen hazarded 
their fortunes led the General to conceive a strong 
aversion to their order. He executed a singular will. 
His family consisted of three daughters, and he 
divided his wealth among them equally, with the pro- 


vision that should any of them many a person of 
noble rank, she should lose her portion. This stipu- 
lation was cancelled by Act of Parliament, and the 
ladies were left a free choice of partners. They all 
became allied to persons of noble rank. Henrietta, 
the eldest, married the Marquis of Titchfield, subse- 
quently fourth Duke of Portland. She brought her 
husband a fortune of £300,000. Lucy, the second 
daughter, married Francis, Earl of Moray. Joan, 
the youngest, became wife of Mr. Canning, the dis- 
tinguished statesman, and on his decease was, in 
acknowledgment of his services, created a viscountess. 

William Forbes, a tinsmith's apprentice in Aber- 
deen, and a native of the place, proceeded to London 
in the hope of bettering his circumstances. In the 
metropolis he worked at his trade for some years, and 
with his savings began a little business on his own 
account. He was a very sagacious person, and those 
who came in contact with him liked his conversation 
and manners. Admiral Byron, grandfather of Lord 
Byron, the celebrated poet, was one of his customers. 
The Admiral chanced to remark to him that he had 
obtained private information that the Admiralty had 
resolved to sheathe the bottoms of ships of war with 
copper, instead of continuing the old method of coal- 
tarring. The information did not pass unheeded by 
the acute Aberdonian. He immediately purchased 
all the copper which could be found. When the 
order was publicly given for the coppering of 
the ships, the naval authorities were compelled to 


apply to him for metal. Subsequently he obtained 
the exclusive privilege of coppering the vessels of 
the navy. In the course of twenty years he realized 
a large fortune. In 1786, when the fine estate of 
Callander, in Stirlingshire, was exposed for sale, 
William Forbes became the purchaser. He now 
retired from business, and took up his abode in the 
ancient demesne of the Earls of Callander. He 
became a zealous agriculturist, and one of the most 
enterprising county gentlemen of his neighbourhood. 
He died on the 21st June, 1815, and was succeeded 
in his princely possessions by his eldest son, the late 
William Forbes, Esq., who was long parliamentary 
representative of the county of Stirling. 

An Argyleshire tailor, named Campbell, opened a 
shop in London. The Duke of Argyle, his hereditary 
chief, had promised to do him any service which lay 
in his power. On the death of George I., which took 
place abroad, the Duke received early intelligence of 
the event, which he concealed several hours from the 
public, but communicated at once to his clansman. 
The tailor, on the Duke's security, obtained money, 
and at once bought up all the fine black cloth in the 
city. The public, therefore, came to him for mourn- 
ing, and he supplied them on his own terms. He 
realized a splendid fortune, with which he built 
Argyle Square, so named by him in honour of his 

A sister of the celebrated Dr. Cullen was waiting- 
maid to the Duchess of Hamilton. She married the 


Duke's valet, whose name was Macall. Both were 
favourites of the family, and the Duke and Duchess 
resolved to establish them comfortably in life. They 
» selected the business of hotel-keeping, and the Duke 
secured them premises in an eligible locality of the 
metropolis. The name of Macall was deemed un- 
suitable for a London landlord, and by the Duke's 
suggestion it was changed to Almack. So originated 
Almack's Hotel, so long the resort of fashionable life 
in London. 

Eose, the usher of the National Assembly, and a 
principal actor in the first French Eevolution, was a 
native of Scotland. By his prudent behaviour he 
attained an influence among many leading persons 
in France. Mirabeau entertained a high opinion of 
him, and on his death-bed appointed him to negotiate 
his affairs. He warned Louis XVI. of the danger 
which threatened him; he sheltered many leading 
persons during the Beign of Terror, and with his own 
hand arrested Bobespierre. Bose held office in the 
Council of the Ancients, and afterwards was attached 
to the Chamber of Peers. He died at Paris, in 
March, 1841, in his eighty-fourth year. 

Alexander Selkirk, the prototype of Bobinson 
Crusoe, may be included in the list of Scottish 
adventurers. He was the son of a respectable shoe- 
maker at Largo, Fifeshire. In his youth he was 
remarkable not more for his roving disposition than 
for an ungovernable temper, which led him into 
frequent scrapes. In his nineteenth year he was 


brought before the kirk-session for "indecent be- 
haviour in church." Two years after, he was again 
cited before that tribunal, on account of promoting 
a disturbance at home. His brother Andrew had 
brought into the house " a can full of salt water," 
which Alexander, on coming in, drank off through 
mistake. On this his brother smiled, when the 
future navigator beat the offender with his staff. 
He further challenged him to " a combat of neiffells." 
Alexander acknowledged his perversity, and sub- 
mitted to a public rebuke. 

The spirit of enterprise which is so largely in- 
herent in the Scottish mind, and which, under the 
regulation of sound judgment and correct principle, 
leads to success and honour, is, when unrestrained 
by proper safeguards, repellent and dangerous. The 
murders perpetrated by Burke and Hare, in order to 
obtain the reward of providing bodies to the dis- 
secting-room, exceeded in number and deliberate 
heartlessness those which have been committed in 
the other divisions of the empire. Angria, the noted 
pirate of Indian seas, was born in Dundee. An 
anecdote, illustrative of his generosity to a townsman, 
may be admissible. 

In the year 1750, a vessel commanded by one 
Captain Crichton, of Dundee, was captured by An- 
gria. When he had hoarded his prize, Angria pro- 
ceeded to address the master of the captured ship in 
the Scottish accent. These questions were put and 
answers given : — 


Pirate. Where do you come from ? 
Captain. From Dundee. 

P. Ay, from Dundee. "Where does the Cross of 
Dundee stand ? 

C. Near the west end of the large square, opposite 
the new Town House. 

P. How many steps are in it ? 

C. Six ; and all go round about it. 

P. Quite right. Where stands Monk's holm ? 

C. On the south side of the Nethergate, and east 
from the hospital, opposite to Girzy Gourlay's stable. 

P. Eight again. Where stands the Machlin 
Tower ? 

C. Just at the west end of the broad of the 
Murraygate, on the north side, where they have 
lately erected a public well, to be called the Dog 
Well, from Archibald Doig, a merchant, who has 
been at the expense of erecting a dog upon the top 
of it cut out of solid stone. 

P. I am much obliged for the information, being 
news to me. But pray where stands St. Paul's ? 

C. On the south side of Murraygate, immediately 
opposite the Machlin Tower. 

P. Do you know St. Eoche ? 

C. We call it Semmirookie. It is at the east 
end of Cowgate, on the north side, near the Den 

Angria was moved to tears on recalling scenes 
familiar to him at a period when he did not con- 
template a course of crime. He shook hands with 


Captain Crichton, and said feelingly, " You have 
your liberty and your ship." 

The history of Scottish smuggling, which yet 
remains to be written, would reveal many remark- 
able illustrations of ingenuity and enterprise, which, 
employed in honourable merchandise, would have 
doubtless conduced to distinction and affluence. The 
desire of vending contraband liquor was deeply 
inherent in the national mind. The stalwart yeo- 
man abandoned the tillage of his fields to engage in 
secretly converting his barley into whisky. The 
peasant derived better remuneration by watching the 
still than in following the plough. The country 
laird loved whisky which tasted of the peat reek. 
Its manufacture by his tenants enabled them to pay 
better rents. Thus encouraged, the smuggling system, 
demoralizing as it was, long lingered in highland 
and also in some of the lowland districts. 

One smuggling story we are enabled to relate. It 
is a narrative of probably the last adventure of the 
kind connected with Scotland. In boldness of con- 
ception and skill of execution it is unique. In 
relating it we would emphatically express our detes- 
tation of the proceedings which it involves. The par- 
ticulars were communicated to us by one who became 
intimately conversant with the circumstances. 

William IV. rejoiced in the society of a Scot- 
tish gentleman connected with his household. The 
gentleman was frequently honoured with a place at 
the royal table. The king drank Hollands gin. The 


Scotsman informed his Majesty that he knew how 
the best description of that liquor could be procured. 
He afterwards produced a specimen of the gin, which 
he recommended. It was cordially approved by the 
king, who requested his courtier to procure a supply 
for the royal table. 

The Scotsman did not communicate with Holland, 
but proceeded to a well-known seaport on the east 
coast of Scotland. An agency was there constituted 
to procure the liquor from a distillery in a central 
district, then celebrated for the manufacture of a 
species of gin. On being received from the distillery, 
the liquor was deposited in a cellar, when a process 
of preparation for its shipment was secretly enacted. 

That process must be described. The liquor was 
placed in bottles manufactured to the Holland pat- 
tern. The corking was an important affair. A slit 
was cut in the lower part of each cork, so that the 
motion of the liquor might not reveal its existence 
in the packing-cases. These cases consisted of casks, 
which were either old or made to assume the aspect 
of antiquity. Both ends of the casks were stowed 
with portions of old iron, the bottles were carefully 
packed in the centre, while labels marked " old 
iron" were attached on the outside. 

The casks were deposited during the night in the 
reception-yard of the London packet, and were uni- 
formly shipped without any information concerning 
the sender. Each cask was inscribed with a fictitious 
name, and addressed to a particular office near the 


landing wharf. At this office a person waited for the 
reception of the casks, and paid the dues of trans- 
mission. Should an exciseman accompany the de- 
liverer, the person in charge was authorized to refuse 
the goods, and protest his ignorance of any individual 
bearing the name attached to the casks. But no 
detection was ever made. From the place of con- 
signment in the city, the bottles were conveyed 
under a different packing to the royal cellars. The 
profits of these strange transactions were very con- 
siderable. The utmost value of the liquor was nine 
shillings per gallon. The king was charged thirty 
shillings, the difference of one guinea being divided 
between the adventurous courtier at the palace and 
his active abettor at the northern port. 



" Man, whose heaven-erected face 
The smiles of love adorn, 
Man's inhumanity to man 

Makes countless thousands mourn." 


" Neglect stings even more than scorn ; 
What can he do 

But hang his lute on some lone tree and die ? 99 

L. E. Landon. 

Calumny has been the scourge of ingenious Scots- 
men. Eobert Fergusson was eccentric ; he was pro- 
nounced a drunkard and died insane. Bruce, the 
Abyssinian traveller, was charged with imposture. 
Burns, pierced by the shafts of detraction, died at 
the age of thirty-seven. The genial and loving J ohn 
Wilson, when a candidate for the University chair, 
was proclaimed a domestic and a social tyrant. The 
Ettrick Shepherd was charged with ingratitude, an 
offence of which he was incapable. 

William Ged, the inventor of stereotyping, was 
a Scotsman. He was a jeweller in Edinburgh. So 
long as he adhered to his original vocation he was 


permitted to prosper. When he ventured to exercise 
his ingenuity by facilitating the printer's art, he was 
doomed. On his making known his discovery of 
block printing, the trade deemed their craft in 
danger, and formed a combination for his destruc- 
tion. Master printers, journeymen, and apprentices 
united against him as a common enemy; they 
assailed him with insult ; they loaded him with in- 
vectives ; they reproached him with ignorance and 
assumption. The arrows of calumny hit him on 
all sides. Who could long withstand such an array 
of hostilities ? Poor Ged, who ought to have made 
a fortune by his discovery, sunk under the load of 
persecution, and died of a broken heart. 

Who invented the percussion cap — the application 
of detonating powder to the explosion of firearms ? 
Few are aware that the inventor was a Scottish 
clergyman. Who has heard of Mr. A. J. Forsyth, 
minister of Belhelvie ? His name is scarcely known 
even to men of science; in the catalogue of dis- 
coverers it is unrecorded. Modest and unpretending 
in his scientific pursuits, and abundantly faithful in 
discharging the duties of his sacred office, Mr. 
Forsyth escaped personal reproach, but was gently 
consigned to the Lethe of oblivion. 

James Watt possessed an aspiring nature, which 
oppression might vex but could not subdue. When 
he commenced business as a constructor of mathe- 
matical instruments, the hammermen of Glasgow 
determined on thrusting him from the city. In 



his difficulty he obtained shelter within the walls of 
the university, where he prosecuted for a time his 
ingenious labours. 

The personal history of Michael Stirling, a Scots- 
man who invented the method of thrashing corn 
by machinery, is unknown. When Patrick Bell, a 
student in theology, invented the reaping machine, 
he made his experiments by night. He rightly 
apprehended that should his name, as a candidate 
for orders, be associated with mechanism and the 
reaping-field, he would receive no call to a parish. 
But the discovery did become known, and Mr. Bell 
was compelled to seek his first professional advance- 
ment on the opposite shores of the Atlantic. 

Dr. James Anderson, commonly distinguished 
as editor of the Bee, possessed extraordinary in- 
genuity. Early directing his attention to social 
economy, he was one of the first who studied Agri- 
culture as a science. He discovered an efficient 
method of draining wet lands, and demonstrated the 
utility of the two-horse plough. He studied Ocean 
husbandry, and under the direction of the Treasury 
surveyed the West coast. He abandoned his country 
farm, and proceeded to Edinburgh, where he expected 
to obtain the sympathy of the learned and the 
patronage of the nobility. He was disappointed, and 
afterwards removed to London, where he died. 

James Smith, commonly styled of Deanston, from 
his long connection with the cotton-mills established 
at that place, was one of the ill-rewarded of modern 


Scotsmen. His modes of thorough drainage, and of 
economizing sewage manure, revolutionized the 
system of Scottish husbandry. His inventions con- 
nected with the mechanism of power-looms have 
likewise proved of important value. Mr. Smith re- 
ceived public entertainments and agricultural medals, 
but obtained no more substantial recompence for a 
long career devoted to the public service. 

The constructor of the first steamboat was Henry 
Bell, a Scottish wheelwright. Abandoning his trade, 
he devoted himself for many years to the fabrication 
of a steam-vessel. The entire work of its formation 
was conducted under his personal superintendence, 
and chiefly with his own hands. He was then 
resident at Helensburgh, on the Clyde, and the 
numerous visitors at that watering-place regarded 
him with pity or contempt. He was pronounced 
a species of enthusiast, who might properly be en- 
trusted to the care of his friends. Shipbuilders who 
had heard the details of his scheme declared his 
system to be impracticable. 

At length, after the anxieties and labours of years, 
Henry Bell launched his little vessel on the Clyde. 
He styled his invention the Comet, a name which 
suggested to the abounding cavillers an opportunity 
for the indulgence of their rude wit respecting the 
alleged eccentricity of the mechanic, and the sup- 
posed ephemeral character of his discovery. 

Contrary to all expectation, the little steamer 
moved steadily on the river. What the inventor 


had anticipated was fully realized. The possibility 
of steam navigation was established. Thereafter 
steamers were regularly constructed on the Clyde, 
and many merchants in Glasgow realized fortunes 
consequent on their use ; but for years the inventor 
suffered from the pressure of abject poverty. At 
length some benevolent person brought his claims 
under the notice of the Clyde Trustees, who settled 
a small annuity upon him, and thus the discoverer of 
Steam Navigation was rescued from the workhouse. 

William Playfair, brother of the better known 
professor of that name, was a person of remarkable 
ingenuity. He invented many important appliances 
for abridging manual labour in the decoration of 
silver plate, and a valuable rolling-machine for the 
use of silversmiths. A mode of telegraphing which 
he suggested was adopted by Government. He pub- 
lished many statistical and political works of great 
public utility. Yet this remarkable man had a con- 
stant struggle for existence, and died in circumstances 
of indigence. 

The name of Dr. Tobias Smollett is familiar. 
Descended from an ancient and opulent family in 
Dumbartonshire, he studied medicine and passed as 
a physician. He served as surgeon's mate on board a 
man-of-war, but soon abandoned naval employment. 
For a period he attempted medical practice at Bath, 
but his attention becoming engrossed by literary con- 
cerns, he resolved to prosecute literature as a pro- 
fession. He originated and became editor of the 


Critical Review. He published a " History of England." 
A succession of novels proceeded from his pen, all of 
which at once became popular. But his constitution 
succumbed under the pressure of constant occupation. 
He tried the climate of Italy, hopeful of benefit from 
the change. There he died in 1774, at the age of 
fifty-three. The proceeds of a benefit in the Theatre 
Eoyal, Edinburgh, enabled his widow to return to 
Britain, and relieved her immediate necessities. 

Mr. Smollett, cousin of the deceased, the opulent 
owner of Bonhill, had forgotten his relative while 
he lived, but rejoiced to share in his celebrity when 
he was gone. He reared a lofty column to his memory 
in a conspicuous locality of his estate, and was careful 
to intimate that he had thus honoured the memory 
of his ingenious kinsman. 

Bobert Mudie, author of the interesting volumes 
on the " Seasons," was a teacher in the academy of 
Dundee. Being an active politician, he joined the 
town council of the burgh, and there sought to ad- 
vance the cause of local reform. His efforts were not 
appreciated by his fellow-councillors, who regarded 
him as an intermeddler. Those who were more 
strongly opposed to his views endeavoured to cause 
him annoyance in the performance of his scholastic 
duties. This was accomplished. Mr. Mudie resigned 
his office, and proceeded to London. There he em- 
ployed his pen with a diligence which has never 
been surpassed. He laboured at the desk twelve 
and fourteen hours daily. At length the exertion 


overcame a constitution originally robust. Death 
relieved him from the chilling hand of poverty at 
the age of sixty-four. 

The works of no Scottish writer have been more 
useful or popular than those of Dr. Thomas Dick, 
author of "The Christian Philosopher." Dr. Dick 
attained his eighty-third year. His long career was 
attended with unceasing privations. He informed 
the writer that for upwards of half a century his 
principal meal consisted of bread and milk. The 
pressure of poverty compelled him to part with his 
copyrights. He obtained a small civil list pension 
in his eightieth year. 

Scottish poets have been especially discouraged. 
The Scottish Parliament classed " bards, minstrels, 
and players," with " strolling vagabonds," and ordered 
their vocation to be suppressed. Within a com- 
paratively recent period, some of the most gifted 
song-writers have been left to subsist on charity. 
William Thorn, the Inverury poet, died at Dundee in 
1848, in circumstances of the deepest poverty. John 
Younger, author of the Prize Essay on the Sabbath, 
and an ingenious poet, was, when unable to work at 
his trade of shoemaking, left to endure the bitterness 
of poverty and neglect. Younger died at St. Bos- 
well's, in 1860, at the age of seventy-five. In this 
same neighbourhood, a brother of Dr. John Leyden, 
the distinguished poet and orientalist, has, at the age 
of fourscore, to seek subsistence as a farm labourer, 
with the prospect of the workhouse. 


Mary Pyper, one of the best of living hymn- writers, 
is, at the age of seventy-two, dependent on the bene- 
volence of a few gentlemen for her support. She is 
a native of the West of Scotland, but has long resided 
in Edinburgh. 

The authors of two celebrated Scottish ballads, 
" Symon and Janet " and " The Brownie of Blednock," 
shared the usual fate of Scottish bards. For Andrew 
Scott, author of the former ballad, the office of parish 
sexton was provided. William Nicholson, author 
of " The Brownie," experienced a worse fate. When 
he was unable to earn his bread as a travelling 
musician, he was thrust into the workhouse. 

To natives of Scotland in every part of the world 
the songs beginning " Ca' the yowes to the knowes " 
and "Owre the muir amang the heather" are 
abundantly familiar. These simple ditties have 
awakened in thousands the associations of youth, 
and enkindled delightful reminiscences. The authors, 
Isobel Pagan and Stuart Lewis, were compelled to 
subsist by mendicancy. 

Every Scotsman knows the song of " Kelvin 
Grove ; " and those who can appreciate the air are 
entranced by it. In 1859, Thomas Lyle, author of 
this delightful composition, and of a valuable work 
on " Ancient Ballads," passed to his rest in a con- 
dition of poverty. 

Who has not been moved by the plaintive song of 
" Wae's me for Prince Charlie " ? William Glen, the 
writer of this and other songs, died in indigence, at 


the age of thirty-seven. His widow and daughters 
live at Aberfoyle, utterly uncared for. 

" My ain dear Nell " is one of the best esteemed of 
modern songs. Both the words and air were com- 
posed by Alexander Hume, another of the unfortu- 
nate bards. He died in 1859, in the deepest penury. 

Two of the most accomplished collectors of Scottish 
song and ballad may be named together. They were 
brothers in misfortune. Peter Buchan is well known. 
His services in collecting northern minstrelsy were 
warmly commended by Sir Walter Scott. He also 
composed original songs, and published works in 
general literature. But his country did nothing for 
him, and he died poor. John Struthers, author of 
* The Poor Man's Sabbath," an admirable poem, and 
editor of " The Harp of Caledonia," shared the usual 
lot. He commenced life as a shoemaker, and like John 
Younger, laboured hard to overcome the necessity of 
pursuing this irksome occupation. For a period he 
obtained literary employment ; but when he became 
old and infirm he was compelled to resume his 
original calling. He struggled with poverty to the 
last, and died in 1850, at the age of seventy-seven. 

Three poets have lately passed away, whose genius 
would probably in any other country save that in 
which they were born — which they loved so well, 
and celebrated in impassioned strains — have re- 
deemed them from the pressure of continual poverty 
and constant suffering. Elliot Aitchison died at 
Hawick in 1858. He was employed in a stocking 


factory when he was able to work, but possessing a 
feeble constitution, he was unable to prosecute his 
vocation continuously. He composed verses of re- 
markable power and classic elegance, which, had he 
been encouraged to publish, would have attracted 
attention and brought him both emolument and 
fame. But the bard was diffident, and shrunk from 
soliciting that patronage which none were found 
willing to bestow unasked. 

Though not more ingenious than the former; 
•Andrew Park is better known. His poem of " Silent 
Love" is one of the noblest compositions in the 
language. Published anonymously, it was ascribed 
to the more celebrated poets of the time. But the 
genius of Park only secured from his fellow-country- 
men a coffin and a gravestone. 

James Macfarlane has not obtained even the latter. 
His poetry is of the loftiest order — deep, sententious, 
chaste, and highly ornate. His ode, entitled " The 
Lords of Labour," is, as an incentive to industry, with- 
out a parallel in ancient or modern verse. Mac- 
farlane led a life of poverty from the cradle to the 
grave. He often passed days without food, and occa- 
sionally lacked a home. His verses were admired, 
but the writer was unsought. A few generous per- 
sons soothed his last hours. He died in 1862, in his 
thirtieth year. 

The catalogue of neglected genius is closed for the 
present, and it is hoped that no other name may be 
added. Some years since, the writer endeavoured to 


establish an institution for the relief of ingenious 
Scotsmen who suffered from temporary misfortune. 
He obtained the support of several influential per- 
sons; Lord Campbell became president, and Lord 
Brougham afforded his ready support. But the 
administration fell into inefficient hands ; the funda- 
mentals of the institution were changed, and the 
labour attending its formation was lost. 

Scotland has been privileged as the birthplace of 
men of genius, but it has been destined that these 
should develop on other soils. The Scottish clergy- 
man is expected to attend solely to the duties of his 
parish. Should he become an author, defects will be 
sought for in his discourses. The Edinburgh barris- 
ter who possesses the love of literature is careful to 
conceal his tastes till his professional reputation has 
been secured. The country lawyer who is frequently 
seen in the village library is not entrusted with the 
care of provincial suits. A Scottish surgeon who 
writes books may not obtain patients. No Scottish 
merchant will employ as clerk one who is known to 
compose verses, or to indulge in literary aspirations. 
These restrictions imply narrow views and a short- 
sighted policy. But a lesson is thereby taught that 
Scottish enterprise ought not to circumscribe the 
sphere of its development. Literary and other in- 
genious Scotsmen, when they betake themselves early 
in life to other lands, seldom fail to be successful. 
They reach the highest honours, not only as authors 
and men of science, but as statesmen, military com- 


manders, and colonial governors. And with all the 
defects which attach to their native land, they are 
proud to acknowledge their northern origin. Amidst 
the prairies of South America, in the steppes of Africa, 
and on the burning plains of Hindostan, the Scots- 
man delights to recall the scenes and the customs of 
the dear old country. As he remembers its moun- 
tains and valleys, holms and haughs, carses and 
corries, and the old folks at home, with * the big ha* 
Bible," and the decent parish church, he is ready to 
exclaim, in an outburst of affection, " If I forget thee, 
0 Jerusalem ! let my right hand forget her cunning ; 
if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to 
the roof of my mouth." 



" Great Julius, on the mountains bred, 
A flock perhaps or herd had led ; 
He that the world subdued, had been 
But the best wrestler on the green." 


" Dear I lo'e the wild war strains 
Our langsyne minstrels sung ; 
They rouse wi' patriotic fires 

The hearts of auld and young ; 
And even the dowie dirge that wails 

Some brave but ruined band, 
Inspires us wi' a warmer love 
For hame and fatherland." 

Archibald Mackay. 

In the early part of the present century, a lively little 
Highland boy, named Colin Macliver, led the sports 
of his juvenile companions on Glasgow Green. His 
father came from one of the Western Isles, and had 
obtained employment in a carpenter's shop. He was 
a sober and industrious tradesman, and used his best 
efforts to provide for his wife and their two children, 
a boy and girl. He had been rather good-looking, 


for it was whispered that a Highland damsel had 
stooped from a higher social position to become his 

The Crimean war, which proved so disastrous to 
military reputations, revealed the qualities hitherto 
imperfectly known of a veteran officer of Scottish 
origin and name. Newspaper reports and military 
despatches teemed with the praises of Brigadier- 
General Sir Colin Campbell. His gallantry as leader 
of the Highland brigade at the Alma, and his re- 
markable resistance of the Eussian charge at Bala- 
klava, established his reputation. When tidings 
of the Indian insurrection of 1857 reached this 
country, every eye was fixed on Sir Colin Campbell 
as one equal to the terrible emergency. When he 
had assented to the royal wish that he would under- 
take the Indian command, he was asked when he 
would be ready. "To-morrow!" was his prompt 
reply. Under his victorious arms the Insurrection 
was speedily suppressed. He was ennobled, and took 
his place in the first Assembly of the nation. He 
chose as his title in the Peerage the name of the 
old river on the banks of which he had played at 
Glasgow Green. Colin Macliver, to please a mater- 
nal uncle, entered the army under his mother's 
name of Campbell. He rose step by step till he 
attained those honours which a grateful country 
rejoices to bestow on the deserving. His old father 
survived to rejoice in the prosperity of his son, and 
he was long supported by his bounty. 


A gentleman of artistic tastes happened in the 
year 1805 to step into the cottage of a working shoe- 
maker at Stockbridge, a suburb of Edinburgh. On 
the whitewashed wall of the apartment he observed 
a number of well-executed representations of animals 
drawn with keel* and charcoal. He examined the 
drawings, which he proceeded to commend highly. 
" Hoot," said the shoemakers wife, " these are bits o' 
drawings o* oor Davie; he was seem' some wild 
beasts at a show, and he's caulked them there to 
let me see them." "Indeed," said the gentleman, 
" and what are you to make of the boy ?" " Deed," 
said the honest woman, " hell jist need to sit down 
on the stool aside his father, and learn to mak and 
mend shoon."f "That will never do," said the 
gentleman; "he is quite a genius, and you must 
make him a painter." Through the gentleman's 
intervention, the shoemaker's son was soon after 
apprenticed to a house-painter. 

The youth proved industrious, and indicated un- 
common genius in his art. He became a painter 
of dramatic scenery, — a department which he emi- 
nently adorned. He bestowed attention on Gothic 
architecture, and produced some admirable paint- 
ings of the ruins of his native country. He sought 
subjects for his pencil in the ancient structures of 
Normandy and of Northern Europe. Proceeding 
to Spain, he brought home noble representations 
of the architecture of the Moors. He visited the 

* Red chalk. t Shoes. 



Holy Land, and delineated scenes endeared to Chris- 
tians of every country by early and hallowed associ- 

This artist was David Eoberts, — one of the most 
gifted of British painters, and a man endowed with 
the purest virtues. He lived to befriend the visitor 
at his father's cottage, who, discovering his artistic 
talent, had placed him on the first step of the ladder 
of fortune. Mr. Eoberts died at London, on the 
25th November, 1864, in his sixty-eighth year. His 
Memoirs have been published by his ingenious 
friend, Mr. James Ballantine. 

In the year 1800, James, only child of Sergeant 
Nisbet, of the Boyal Artillery, entered himself as 
apprentice to a solicitor at Kelso. After a trial of 
three years, he found that the prospect of following 
the business of a country attorney w 7 as intolerable. 
He recovered his indenture and proceeded to Lon- 
don, where he engaged himself as clerk to a West 
India merchant. He was now eighteen. His salary 
was at first dG50 ; but it was periodically increased. 
He lived moderately, and saved a portion of his in- 
come every year. In 1809 he opened a bookseller's 
shop in Castle Street. He was attentive to business, 
and prospered. He purchased premises in Berners 
Street, and began to publish religious works. James 
Nisbet soon became widely known. Every work 
which bore his imprint was received with confidence 
by those who rejoiced to promote the circulation of 
evangelical literature. Mr. Nisbet died in 1854, full 



of years and honours. The publishing house origi- 
nated by his enterprise is one of the most important 
in the kingdom. 

The churchyard of Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, 
contains a monumental obelisk without any inscrip- 
tion. It is associated with a curious history. James 
Mounsey, a native of the district, and grand-nephew 
of William Paterson, who founded the Bank of Eng- 
land, was physician to the Emperor Paul of Eussia. 
When that unfortunate monarch was assassinated, a 
report arose that Dr. Mounsey was concerned in the 
massacre, and to prevent his becoming the victim 
of popular vengeance his death was reported. A 
mock funeral took place in Lochmaben churchyard, 
and the obelisk was reared to denote the grave. 

When the Grand Duke Nicholas, afterwards Em- 
peror of Eussia, was on a visit to Britain, he evinced 
a particular interest in the cause of education. Dur- 
ing his visit to Edinburgh the Duke expressed a 
wish that he might be conducted to the more cele- 
brated schools. When visiting an academy in one of 
the suburbs, he requested the head-master to examine 
in his presence a few of his smartest pupils. The 
teacher remarked that his most promising scholar 
was a boy named Patterson. On the youth being 
examined before him the Duke expressed his sur- 
prise at his remarkable precocity. " If he will pro- 
ceed to Eussia I will make him a nobleman," said 
the Duke. The schoolmaster consulted the boy's 
mother on the Duke's proposal, but her consent could 


not be obtained. The youth studied for the Scottish 
Church. His career was short, but peculiarly bril- 
liant. The name of John Brown Patterson, author of 
the Prize Essay on the " National Character of the 
Athenians," is familiar. He became minister of Fal- 
kirk, and died in 1835. 

Alexander Peden, the celebrated Covenanter, en- 
joyed the reputation of being gifted as a prophet. 
The ascription of supernatural powers to those emi- 
nent for their sagacity and piety was not uncommon 
in ancient Scotland. The prophecies assigned to 
Peden are generally unimportant, or such as a shrewd 
person might readily vaticinate without supernatural 
assistance. One of his prophecies was sufficiently re- 
markable. Discoursing to his people from Amos vii. 
8, he used these words, — " I'll tell you good news. 
Our Lord will take a feather out of Antichrist's wing 
which shall bring down the Duke of York, and 
banish him out of these kingdoms. And there shall 
never a man of the House of Stuart sit upon the 
throne of Britain after the Duke of York, whose 
reign is now short." Peden died in 1686, two years 
before the dethronement of James VII., and the 
event of the Eevolution. 

One of the tales included by Professor Wilson in 
his " Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life " is entitled 
" The Covenanter's Marriage Day." It is founded on 
an occurrence of real life, the tradition of which 
still obtains in Ettrick Eorest. William Laidlaw, a 
shepherd at Chapelhope, had won the hand of Mary 



Stewart, a beautiful shepherdess. It was the period 
of the religious persecutions, and the marriage was 
celebrated in a lonely retreat among the hills. As 
the couple were returning home from the celebration 
of their union, a party of soldiers marched towards 
them. " You are a Presbyterian, an attender of con- 
venticles, and a harbourer of field-preachers," said 
the leader. Laidlaw was silent. " Prepare to die," 
added the commander. In a few seconds the life- 
blood of the hapless bridegroom crimsoned the moor. 
The bride had fallen into a swoon, but she was 
aroused by the report of firearms. She threw herself 
upon the corpse of her beloved husband. In that 
hour her reason took flight, and she became a maniac. 
She gathered withered flowers, and went about sing- 
ing a melancholy air, with the sad chorus, " The grave, 
the grave for me." 

During the month of August 1859 the author of 
this work was residing at the village of Darnick, near 
Abbotsford. Having undertaken to conduct Divine 
service in a neighbouring parish, he was proceeding 
on the Sunday morning to the scene of duty. In 
the course of his journey he found an aged female 
lying on the side of the turnpike. He was about to 
assist her, when he was informed by his conductor 
that the woman was intoxicated. This was an error. 
The hapless woman was dying, — she died that day. 
The next person who came up recognised her, and, 
conveying her to a cottage, comforted her last hours. 
This was Elizabeth Graham, one of the two prototypes 


of Madge Wildfire, celebrated by Sir Walter Scott in 
his " Heart of Mid Lothian." Her sister prototype 
was Feckless Fannie of Ayrshire. Elizabeth Graham 
was the daughter of a respectable farmer, but having 
been seduced by a false lover, she lost her reason, and 
became a constant wanderer. 

The old and popular song of " Jenny Nettles" 
celebrates a rustic beauty of Fife, whose melancholy 
fate might have been depicted in more plaintive 
strains. Jenny was disowned by a faithless lover, 
and unable to bear the scorn of society, she termi- 
nated her existence. Her remains were interred be- 
tween two lairds' lands near the Lomond Hills, where 
a cairn was placed to denote the spot. About forty 
years ago the grave was examined, when the skull of 
the unhappy maiden was discovered, along with her 
earrings and necklace. The skull is now in the 
museum of Mr. Joseph Paton of Dunfermline. 

Mr. John Home's tragedy of " Douglas " is founded 
on the old ballad of " Gil Morice." The hero of the 
ballad, Gil Morice, an earl's son, is represented as 
sending a message to the wife of Lord Barnard to 
meet him in the " green wood." His page delivered 
the message to the dame in the hearing of her lord. 
His lordship's jealousy was excited, and he proceeded 
to the " green wood " to encounter one whom he sup- 
posed to be the paramour of his faithless spouse. He 
found Gil Morice, whom he complimented on his 
manly beauty, and then stabbed to the heart. The 
baron's spouse, when she saw the lifeless remains of 


the youth, announced to her lord that Gil Morice 
was her son. She had built for him a bower in the 
" green wood/' that she might occasionally see him, 
while shame had prevented her acknowledging the 
existence of one to whom before wedlock she had 
given birth. The baron expressed his deep concern 
for his rashness, and joined his lamentations with 
those of his spouse. He said, — 

" I'll aye lament for Gil Morice 
As gin be were my ain, 
I'll ne'er forget the driery day 
On which the youth was slain." 

The romantic character of the story led the col- 
lectors of the older ballads to hazard an opinion that 
the story was a creation of romance. Tradition had, 
however, assigned a particular spot on the banks of 
the Carron river as the burying-place of the youth. 
During the course of the present century the pro- 
prietor of the estate resolved to erect a cottage at the 
spot, and in digging for the foundation, the workmen 
discovered an ancient grave, containing bones. These 
mouldered into dust on exposure to the air, but 
several of the teeth were found to be perfectly entire. 
They were inserted in a glass case, which has been 
attached to the wall of the cottage vestibule. The 
writer has inspected the relics. 

The old ballad of u Johnny Faa, or the Gypsie 
Laddie," describes the elopement of a Countess of 
Cassilis with a gipsy. The story is thus repre- 
sented in the tradition. Faa was a gentleman of 


good family, in the county of Haddington, and was 
an attached lover of the Countess before her mar- 
riage. She had married the Earl to gratify her kins- 
folk, but contrary to her own inclinations. Though 
the lady was wedded to another, Faa had resolved 
to make an attempt to secure her person. Accord- 
ingly he proceeded to her residence during her lord's 
absence, accompanied by eight retainers, all being 
disguised as gipsies. 

Having procured an interview with the Countess, 
Faa made himself known to her, and induced her to 
elope with him. When Lord Cassilis returned home, 
he assembled his vassals and proceeded in quest of 
the fugitives. He overtook them somewhere on the 
borders of England, and at a pitched battle slew Faa 
and seven of his followers. Having recovered his 
wife, he built a tower for her reception in the village 
of Maybole, where he caused her to be kept a close 
prisoner during the remainder of her life. This 
story has been often related in connection with the 
ballad, but the genealogical accounts of the family do 
not afford any evidence as to its accuracy. 

In the parish churchyard of Kirkconnell, Dum- 
friesshire, a flat tombstone exhibits two sculptured 
swords, and is inscribed with these words: — "Hie 
jacet Adamus Fleming' 9 The stone is associated 
with the touching old ballad of "Fair Helen of 
Kirkconnell." Some time in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, Helen Irving, a celebrated beauty, and daugh- 
ter of the Laird of Kirkconnell, was beloved by 


two young gentlemen of the neighbourhood. The 
favoured lover was Adam Fleming. The rejected 
suitor, Bell of Blacket House, vowed to sacrifice 
his successful rival on the first opportunity. One 
evening Helen was seated with her accepted lover 
on a romantic spot, by the margin of the river 
Kirtle, when Bell suddenly appeared on the other 
side of the stream, in the act of presenting a musket 
at his rival. The maiden, perceiving the imminent 
danger of her lover, threw herself between him and 
his assassin. Pierced with the bullet intended for 
her admirer, she fell into his arms and immediately 
expired. Fleming pursued the murderer and slew 
him. He afterwards proceeded to Spain, where he 
fought against the infidels. Eeturning to Kirk- 
connell, he went to the parish churchyard, and 
stretched himself on the grave of the hapless maid, 
who, to preserve his life, had sacrificed her own. His 
feelings so overcame him, that he burst a blood vessel 
and died. His remains were deposited beside those 
of the gentle Helen. 

The story of Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, celebrated 
in ballad, is, though partaking of a romantic cha- 
racter, founded on truth. Two young ladies in Perth- 
shire were attached friends. One of them, Miss 
Elizabeth Bell, was the daughter of Mr. Bell of Kin- 
vaid ; the other, Miss Mary Gray, was daughter of 
Mr. Gray, proprietor of Lynedoch. They both were 
beautiful and of engaging manners, and had each 
attracted the affection of a young gentleman in the 


neighbourhood. The plague of 1645 was raging with 
terrible severity, and the maidens left their paternal 
homes, and took shelter in a bower at Burn Braes, on 
the banks of the Lednoch. They determined to re- 
ceive no visitors save the youth whom they held in 
mutual esteem. He paid daily visits to the bower, 
and having caught the infection unconsciously carried 
it to Burn Braes. The maidens died, and, as they 
had requested, were both interred at the spot where 
they had sought unavailing shelter. In the words of 
the ballad, — 

" They wadna He in Methven kirkyard 
Amang their gentle kin ; 
But they wad lie on Dronach haugh 
To beak foment* the sun/' 

Some years ago the writer made a pilgrimage to the 
grave of the loving maidens ; he found the spot en- 
closed by a railing. This was erected through the 
liberality and kindly sentiment of Major Berry, the 
late proprietor of Lynedoch. 

Lynedoch became the property of Thomas Graham 
of Balgowan, the hero of Barossa, who, on his eleva- 
tion to the peerage, chose it as his title. Mr. Graham 
lived many years on his estate of Balgowan in Perth- 
shire, attending to the duties of a country landowner. 
In his forty-second year, his wife, a daughter of Lord 
Cathcart, died somewhat suddenly, and having been 
extremely attached to her, the shock of her removal 
severely depressed him. He entered the army, and, 

* To rest together in a sunny spot. 


regardless of his life, fought with desperate courage. 
He became one of the most distinguished of the 
Peninsular heroes. 

The sudden death of a young lady to whom he 
was about to be married led William Drummond of 
Hawthornden to betake himself to literary seclusion. 
To the event of his bereavement the world is in- 
debted for the production of those works, in prose 
and verse, which reflect so much credit on his coun- 
try and age. 

There is an anecdote illustrative of strong family 
affection during the political troubles of the seven- 
teenth century. In 1646, several noble persons were 
tried at St. Andrews for bearing arms in the royal 
army. Among those sentenced to death was Lord 
Ogilvie, eldest son of the Earl of Airlie. The noble con- 
vict, having pretended sickness, was allowed to receive 
a visit from the members of his family. When his wife, 
mother, and sisters entered his cell, the guards retired 
for a short period. In the interval one of his lordship's 
sisters arrayed him in her gown, while she threw her- 
self into the bed, and put his night-cap on her head. 
When the guards entered, an affectionate parting 
ensued, and the visitors, including the disguised 
nobleman, were conducted to their carriage. On the 
escape of Lord Ogilvie being made known, some of 
the nobility would have wreaked vengeance on the 
ladies, but more merciful counsels prevailed. 

Charles, sixth Earl of Strathmore, was killed in 
1728 from an accidental wound received in a scuffle. 


He had married, three years before, Lady Susan Coch- 
rane, second daughter of the Earl of Dundonald, who 
was then in her fifteenth year. Left a widow at 
eighteen, Lady Strathmore received many advan- 
tageous offers of marriage, all of which she chose to 
reject. When she had reached the mature age of 
thirty-six she took a fancy for her groom, George 
Forbes, to whom she offered herself in marriage. The 
groom at first thought that the Countess had become 
mentally disordered, but when he perceived that she 
was serious, he gladly embraced the good fortune 
which had so unexpectedly fallen in his way. The 
marriage took place, and the Countess, who had no 
children by her first union, gave birth to a daughter. 
Her husband proved most unworthy of his elevation, 
and rendered himself so obnoxious by his low tastes 
and intemperate habits, that the Countess left him and 
proceeded to reside in France. She placed the child 
in a convent at Eouen. Lady Strathmore died in 
1754, and it was found that, having lived expensively, 
she had left nothing for the support of her child. 
Some years after, George Forbes, who had set up as 
a keeper of livery stables at Leith, married a girl of 
his own rank, and became the father of a family. He 
now sent to Eouen for his daughter by the Countess, 
who had reached her fifteenth year. On her arrival 
in her father's house she was treated most cruelly by 
her stepmother, and so made an abrupt departure 
from the family. She crossed the Forth at the King- 
horn ferry, probably with a view of proceeding to the 



seat of the Stratlimore family in Forfarshire. In her 
journey through Fife she became exhausted, and 
sought rest and a night's lodging at a farmhouse 
occupied by a family of the name of Lauder. She nar- 
rated to the family her remarkable story, with which 
they were so interested that they asked her to reside 
with them. Soon after, Miss Forbes married the 
farmer's son, who proved an affectionate husband. 
But the Lauder family suffered reverses, and the 
daughter of Lady Stratlimore, now a widow, was found 
in 1821 residing in a small cottage near Stirling. 
When her history became known, several influential 
persons in the district appealed on her behalf to her 
noble relatives. Her claims were acknowledged, and 
an annuity of one hundred pounds was settled on 
her. Her latter years were spent in comparative 

Lord Dalmeny, eldest son of James, second Earl 
of Eoseberry, met in London a most fascinating lady, 
whom he persuaded to marry him. After marriage 
the parties proceeded to the Continent, where they 
lived together with much concord. At length the 
lady was seized with a severe illness, which the 
physicians assured her she could not long survive. 
She called for a slip of paper, and wrote upon it 
these words : — u I am the wife of the Eev. Mr. 
Gough, rector of Thorpe, in Essex. My maiden 
name was C. Cannon, and my last request is to be 
buried at Thorpe." Lord Dalmeny was deeply 
grieved at the loss of his wife, and was inclined to 



believe that the writing she had left had been caused 
by her ailment affecting her brain, and producing 
delusion. He caused, however, the body to be re- 
moved to England, and on his arrival sent for the 
Eev. Mr. Gough to consult with him on the subject 
of the writing. The clergyman recognised in the 
corpse the features of his wife. She had left him 
for some years, and he had been unable to obtain any 
trace of her movements. Lord Dalmeny and the 
clergyman compassionated with each other on the 
strange occurrence which had brought them together. 
The funeral took place at Thorpe, and both the hus- 
bands of the deceased lady were mourners at her 

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Mr. 
Chisholm, the young laird of Cromlix, became ena- 
moured of Miss Helen Murray, daughter of the 
laird of Ardoch, a lady much celebrated for her 
beauty. Miss Murray reciprocated the affection of 
her admirer, and it was agreed that, during his 
absence on some business in France, their correspond- 
ence should be conducted through the intervention 
of a gentleman in Dunblane. This person proved 
untrue. He secreted the letters on both sides, and 
sought to prejudice the lady against her admirer. 
Protracted silence and false representations at length 
succeeded in overcoming Miss Murray's affection for 
young Chisholm, and his unworthy confidant now 
sought to win the lady's affection for himself. By 
the strong importunities of her friends, she was per- 



suaded to assent to his proposals. Their marriage 
was solemnized ; but the event had just taken place 
when Chisholm unexpectedly returned. The villany 
of the treacherous friend was exposed, and the mar- 
riage was annulled. Helen was now united to her faith- 
ful admirer. A song, composed by the lover during 
the period of the supposed desertion of his mistress, 
was long popular. It is known as M Cromlet's Lilt." 
A similar story in connection with the courtship and 
marriage of the gallant Sir Eobert Munro, Bart., of 
Foulis, is related by Mr. Hugh Miller, in his " Scenes 
and Legends of the North of Scotland." 

Dr. Abernethy, the celebrated physician, carried 
his well-known abruptness of manner even into his 
courting his wife. He had been professionally at- 
tending a widow lady for several weeks, when he 
was struck with the prudent conduct of her daughter, 
and formed the opinion that she might suit as his 
helpmate. Taking leave of his patient on a Satur- 
day, he said to her, " Madam, you are now so well 
that I will make my farewell visit on Monday. 
Meanwhile I wish you and your daughter seriously 
to consider the proposal I am about to make. It is 
abrupt and unceremonious, I am aware ; but the ex- 
cessive occupation of my time by my professional 
duties affords me no leisure to accomplish what I 
desire by the more ordinary course of solicitation. 

My annual receipts amounf to £ , and I can settle 

£ on my wife. My character is generally known. 

I have seen in your daughter an affectionate child, a 


careful irnrse, and a ladylike member of a family. 
Such a person is all a husband could covet. I offer 
her my hand. On Monday I shall receive your de- 
termination, for I have no time for courtship." The 
answer was an acceptance of the offered hand. The 
marriage proved a happy one. 

Few persons are aware that the popular song 
"The Boatie rows," was composed by John Ewen, 
an ironmonger in Aberdeen, who died in 1821. 
Ewen was a person of miserly habits, and a sort 
of domestic tyrant. His only child, Miss Ewen, 
married in 1787 a person of her own rank and of 
most respectable character, but he would make no 
proper provision on the occasion. He afterwards 
ignored the existence of his daughter and her family, 
and bequeathed his fortune of £16,000 for the 
establishment of an hospital at Aberdeen. Much to 
the satisfaction of the public, the settlement, which 
was challenged by the daughter, was pronounced 
invalid by the House of Lords, and the money 
restored to the descendants of the ill-conditioned 

Another unamiable Scottish poet was David 
Mallet. His original family name was Malloch; 
his father kept a small public-house at Crieff, and 
he held in his younger years the humble situation of 
janitor of the Edinburgh High School. When he 
rose to a position of affluence, and mixed in the 
literary society of London, Malloch was most de- 
sirous of concealing all particulars of his origin and 



early history. With this view he changed his name 
to Mallet. The immediate cause of the change has 
been assigned to the circumstance that he had re- 
ceived from some wit the soubriquet of Moloch, on 
account of his habit of declaiming against the 
Christian Religion. Mallet composed " The Birks 
of Invermay," and the ballad of " William and Mar- 

One of the parties celebrated by Burns in his well- 
known festive song beginning — 

u 0 Willie brewed a peck o' niaut, 
And Rob and Allan cam to pree," 

was Mr. Allan Masterton, writing-master in Edin- 
burgh. The author's father enjoyed the acquaintance 
of Mr. Masterton, and was informed by him of the 
following remarkable occurrence in his own personal 
history. Having been on a visit to London, he had 
arranged to return home in a passenger vessel bound 
for Leith. He had paid his passage-money, and 
a porter had brought his luggage to the place of 
embarkation. Just as he was on the point of step- 
ping on board, he was seized with a strong presenti- 
ment that the vessel would not reach her destination. 
He therefore determined of a sudden to forego his 
original intention, and to proceed homewards by 
land. When he reached Edinburgh, he learned that 
the ship in which he had proposed to sail had 
foundered at sea, and that all the passengers had 


These are a few gleanings from a field of biogra- 
phical and historical Lore, in which much remains 
to be collected and gathered up. What has been 
accomplished by the author of this Work, and by 
those who have preceded him in such inquiries, 
may prompt others to prosecute similar researches. 

Such investigations have a salutary tendency. 
The untravelled Scotsman who plumes himself on 
his ancient pedigree, and on the moralities of his 
sires, may be led to discover that the credit of the 
family tree may have chiefly to rest on his own 
good deeds, since the virtues of one portion of his 
progenitors may be more than counterbalanced by 
the misdemeanours of another. 

The country which produced Wallace and Bruce, 
Knox and Chalmers, Napier and Watt, Abercromby, 
Moore, and Lord Clyde, teemed with highland 
reivers, border thieves, and lazy islanders. The most 
inhuman monsters who ever disgraced civilization 
were not greater offenders than Cardinal Beaton, 
Thomas Dalyell, Eobert Grierson, John Graham, 
and Archbishop Sharpe. 

On the other hand, in gleaning from his country's 
Annals, the Scotsman finds examples prompting 
him to virtuous enterprise. He discovers that he 
belongs to a country in which the footprint of 
the invader was extinguished in his blood, and in 
which thousands of a God-fearing population con- 
sented to die rather than renounce their religion. 
Those who prove unworthy of the better deeds of 


such a country incur a responsibility from which 
the virtuous would instinctively shrink. 

Let the glory of Scotland be upheld by a discreet 
reverence of the past and an earnest improvement 
of the present. In rearing Memorial Stones to our 
illustrious departed, let us strive to imitate their 
patient self-denial and Christian earnestness. Let 
us seek to be governed by those principles of honour, 
truth, and justice, which guided our old heroes, and 
the possession of which will best evidence that we 
represent them worthily. 




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